Vermont had no better soldier or more gallant fighter than George J. Stannard, who was the first citizen of his State to volunteer as a soldier in the war of the Rebellion, having tendered his services to Governor Fairbanks, April 15, 1861. He was mustered into the service of the United States at Burlington, June 21, 1861, as Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Vermont Infantry Volunteers. Commissioned Colonel of the Ninth Vermont Infantry Volunteers, May 21, 1862. Appointed Brigadier-General U. S. Volunteers March 11, 1863, for bravery and distinguished valor at Harper's Ferry, Va., Commissioned Brevet Major-General U. S. Volunteers, to date from October 28, 1864, for gallant and meritorious services in the attack upon the enemy's works at Fort Harrison, Va., Sept. 29 and 30, 1864. Resigned from the United States service June 28, 1866. As Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Vermont, he took part in the following battles: 1st Bull Run (Manassas), Yorktown, Golding's Farm,Lee's Mill (Dam No. 1) and Williamsburg.
As Colonel of the Ninth Vermont he was present at Winchester and Harper's Ferry.
As brigade and Division Command he was present at the following: Gettysburg, Drewry's Bluff, Petersburg, Chapin's Farm, Bermuda Hundred, Cold Harbor, The Mine and Fort Harrison.
As Lieutenant-Colonel of the Second Vermont, General Stannard served in the Peninsula campaign until ordered to Vermont to organize theNinth Regiment, which was at that time in camp at Brattleboro. He commanded this regiment as Colonel at Winchester and Harper's Ferry, Va., where his troops with others under the command of Col. Miles, of the U. S. Army, were basely surrendered. Upon being paroled, Colonel Stannard took his command to Chicago, Ill., and was placed in charge of several regiments at Camp Tyler, and later at Camp Douglass. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General for bravery and distinguished valor at Harper's Ferry, and assigned to the command of the Second Vermont Brigade, then on duty near Fairfax Court House.
In the Gettysburg campaign, Gen. Stannard's brigade (composed of the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Vermont Volunteers,) was the Third Brigade, Third Division, I Corps. On the afternoon of July 3, 1863, Gen. Stannard distinguished himself and his brigade by an attack upon Pickett's flank, at which time he was severely wounded. Upon the muster out of this brigade, he was ordered to command of the defences in New York harbor, which duty he performed until assigned to a brigade in the X Corps in the spring of 1864. Later he was transferred to the command of the First Brigade, Second Division, XVIII Corps, Gen. "Baldy" Smith commanding, and was present with it at Cold Harbor, where he was wounded. On the 14th of June, he led the advance of the XVIII Corps on Petersburg, with his brigade. He was ordered to the command of the First Division, XVIII Corps, while in front of Petersburg, a part of his line being within one hundred yards of the enemy's fortifications. Here he was again wounded, and those received at Cold Harbor, that he was given a leave of absence, from which he returned in time to head the advance of the Tenth and XVIII Corps to the north of the James River, on the 29th of September, 1864, which resulting in the storming of Fort Harrison. The next day Gen. Lee, in person, assaulted Fort Harrison, with Hoke's and Field's Division, Longstreet's Corps, but was unable to dislodge Stannard's Division. The fighting was terrible, and near the close of the engagement Gen. Stannard received a bullet which shattered his right arm, necessitating amputation near the shoulder. He was again sent home, and upon recovery, was placed in command of the Northern frontier, with headquarters at Saint Albans. This was in December, 1864, shortly after the rebel raid for Canada into that town. He continued on duty in the Department of the East until February, 1866, when he was ordered to report to Maj.-Gen. O. O. Howard, U. S. Vols., and was assigned service in the Freedman's Bureau at Baltimore, Md., June 27, 1866. Gen. Stannard died at Washington, D. C., June 1, 1886, and is buried in Lake View Cemetery, at Burlington, where the State of Vermont and his comrades-in-arms have erected a monument to his memory, upon which the following words are inscribed.
In honor of General George Jerrison Stannard, whose mortal part rests beneath this stone. Born in Georgia, Vermont, October 20, 1820. Died at Washington, D. C., June 1, 1886. Volunteered for the war April 14, 1861. Lieut.-Col. 2d Vt. Vols., June 6, 1861, Col. 9th Vt. Vols., May 21, 1862. Brig.-Gen. of Vols., March 11, 1863. Bvt. Maj.-Gen. of Vols. Oct. 2, 1864. Mustered out June 28, 1866. At Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, commanding the Second Vermont Brigade in crises of the battle he made the flank attack which decided the fate of Pickett's charge and changed a doubtful struggle into victory. At Cold Harbor, June 3, 1864, he commanded the First Brigade, Second Division, XVIII Corps, and was twice wounded. September 29, 1864, commanding the First Division, XVIII Corps, he stormed Fort Harrison, in front of Richmond, and held the work against the enemy's utmost efforts to retake it the following day, losing his arm. In these and other battles he distinguished himself by his cool courage, clear insight, and genius of command; gallant, truthful, unselfish, patriotic, his fame is cherished as a priceless inheritance by his comrades and fellow citizens who have joined the States of Vermont in erecting this memorial.
"Sleep soldier sleep. Thy Battles all are O'er."
A heroic bronze status of General Stannard surmounts the State Monument at Gettysburg, which faces the field upon which he and his brigade performed such gallant service.