Private George Victor Rickards was born on August 18th, 1836 at Yorkshire, England. He came to the United States sometime in 1853, and moved to Key West, Monroe County, Florida sometime in 1855.
Sometime between May of 1855 and January of 1861, George and his family moved to Pinellas County, Florida. He was employed as the light keeper at Egmont Key, which lay at the mouth of Tampa Bay.
At the onset of Florida’s secession, George found himself caught in a struggle for control of the Egmont Light. The collector in Key West was loyal to the Union, while the collector at St. Marks sided with the Confederates.
Rickard feigned allegiance to Union blockaders near the island, until their absence allowed him to flee the island. After crating up the Fresnel lens, Rickard absconded to Tampa with the lens, his family, and as many supplies as he could transport.
He was mustered into service on December 24th, 1861 as seaman with Captain Henry Mulrenan’s Florida Volunteer Coast Guards; on January 9th, 1862 he was assigned to the crew of the Mary Jane. He remained in this unit until mustered into Confederate service on April 25th, 1862 when he was enlisted as a Private in Captain Smith’s Company (Key West Avengers), 7th Regiment Florida Infantry by Major R. B. Thomas at Tampa, Florida for a period of 3 years or the war.
He was present on all rolls until November 1st, 1862 when he was detached for service as assistant hospital orderly, guard, and cook at the University Hospital at Knoxville, Tennessee until July 1863. He was reported as present until November 25th, 1863 when he was reported as sick in hospital at the Newsom Hospital at Cassville, Georgia (a hospital muster roll for November and December 1863 dated January 21st, 1864 lists him as present and employed as a nurse).
Sometime between January 21st and July 22nd, 1864, he was promoted to 1st Sergeant.
He was captured near Atlanta, Georgia on July 22nd, 1864 and sent to Camp Chase, Ohio where he arrived On July 31st, 1864. He died while in captivity of erysipelas on April 17th, 1865 and is interred in the prison cemetery.