Summary

Conflict Period:
Civil War (Confederate) 1
Branch:
Confederate Army 1
Rank:
Private 1
Birth:
1826 1
Illinois, USA 1
Death:
1892 1
Dunklin County, Missouri, USA 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
George Thomas Copeland 1
Birth:
1826 1
Illinois, USA 1
Death:
1892 1
Dunklin County, Missouri, USA 1
Residence:
Place: Missouri 1
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Civil War (Confederate) 1

Branch:
Confederate Army 1
Rank:
Private 1
Service Start Date:
Oct 1863 1
Service End Date:
May 1865 1

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Stories

George T. Copeland was drafted in Ripley County, Missouri sometime in the first half of 1863.  By October 1863, he had joined the "Rebel Army" under Cunningham and Reeves -- the 15th Missouri Cavalry.  The website "Ripley County in the Civil War" states:

"The 15th was original known as the “Independent Missouri Scouts” through much of 1862-63.  It was mustered into Confederate service on July 20, 1864 at Pocahontas, AR.  Most of its military service was reporting enemy movement and occasionally engaging Union scouts and patrols along the Arkansas-Missouri border.  One major skirmish occurred in Ripley County on December 25, 1863 at Pulliam’s Farm, southwest of Doniphan where 35 were killed.  Major engagements included:  Battle of Pilot Knob, Sept 27, 1864 (1 mortally wounded, 1 wounded) Battle of Westport, MO October 23, 1864 and Mine Creek, KS October 25, 1864 (1 mortally wounded, 5 wounded and 12 missing).   The regiment was surrendered and paroled at Jacksonport, AR on June 5, 1865."  

His records show that George Copeland was captured on 25 December 1863 in Ripley County, Missouri.  Based on available information, it is likely that he was captured at the notorious "Skirmish at Pulliam's Farm", also known as "The Wilson Massacre" . There is quite a bit of controvery surrounding the events of this day, and they are all worth reading.  

After he was captured, George was taken first to Pilot Knob, MO, and then forwarded on 31 December 1863 to Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis, MO.  He was tried at Gratiot Street Prison on 09 February 1864 (see "The United States Ags't George T. Coplin") and sentenced to "hard labor" for the duration of the war, to be served at Alton Military Prison just across the border from St. Louis in Alton, Illinois.  

The conditions at Alton Prison were markedly worse than other Union prisons, and it is quite surprising that George survived his incarceration there.  He was released following his taking the "Oath of Amnesty" after the end of the war on 06 May 1865.  

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