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George W. Cole (Union Army major general)

George W. Cole, Union Army brevet major general.

George W. Cole (March 26, 1827 – December 9, 1875) was an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. His wartime commands included the 2nd United States Colored Cavalry, and he attained the rank of major general by brevet. In 1867 Cole was accused of murder after he killed L. Harris Hiscock, a member of the New York State Assembly. Cole accused Hiscock of an affair with Mrs. Cole; his first trial ended with a hung jury, and he was acquitted at the second on the grounds of "momentary insanity".

Early lifeEdit

Cole was born in Lodi, New York on March 26, 1827.[1] Among his siblings was Cornelius Cole, who served as a United States Senator from California.[2] He attended Wesleyan University, and left after three years to begin the study of medicine.[3] Cole received his medical degree from Geneva Medical College in 1850, and practiced medicine, owned a drug store, and operated a farm.[4][5] In 1853 he married Mary Barto; their children include daughters Fanny and Alice.[6] In 1857 he moved to Syracuse, where he became a partner in a lumber business, in which he remained active until the outbreak of the American Civil War.[7]

Civil WarEdit

He served as a captain and commander of Company H in the 12th New York Volunteer Infantry,[8] became a major and battalion commander in the 3rd New York Volunteer Cavalry,[9] and then became commander of the 2nd United States Colored Cavalry with the rank of colonel.[10] During the war, Cole took part in several engagements, including the First Battle of Bull Run.[11] He was wounded, and also suffered serious internal injuries after his horse fell on him during a cavalry charge.[12] He was subsequently promoted to brigadier general and major general, both by brevet, in recognition of his superior service.[13][14][15]

Killing of L. Harris HiscockEdit

On June 4, 1867, Cole shot and killed L. Harris Hiscock in Albany.[16] Hiscock was a member of the New York State Assembly, a delegate to the 1867 state constitutional convention, and a friend of Cole's.[17][18] Cole accused Hiscock of having an affair with Mrs. Cole while Cole was away serving in the army.[19] He was charged with murder; his first trial ended in a hung jury, and he was acquitted at his second on the grounds of "momentary insanity".[20]

Later lifeEdit

After he was acquitted, the Coles remained married, but lived separately; Mrs. Cole lived with her brother Henry in Trumansburg, New York. George Cole worked in the registrar’s office of the New York City Post Office.[21] In 1874 he moved to New Mexico in search of a drier climate, which was necessitated by injuries and illness related to his military service.[22] While living in New Mexico, Cole was active in real estate speculation and resumed the practice of medicine.[23][24]

Death and burialEdit

Cole did not recover his health; he died in Mora, New Mexico from the effects of pneumonia on December 9, 1875.[25][26] He was buried at Saint Vrain Cemetery in Mora.[27]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Alumni Record of Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn.. Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood & Brainard. 1883. p. 403. https://books.google.com/books?id=_6pJAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA403. 
  2. Alumni Record of Wesleyan University, pp. 81, 403
  3. Alumni Record of Wesleyan University, p. 403
  4. Hobart College Associate Alumni (1897). Hobart College: General Catalogue of Officers, Graduates and Students, 1825-1897. W. F. Humphrey: Geneva, NY. p. 91. https://books.google.com/books?id=DuMSAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA91. 
  5. Remarkable Trials of All Countries: With the Evidence and Speeches of Counsel, Court Scenes, Incidents, &c.. II. New York, NY: S. S. Peloubet & Company. 1882. pp. 214–215. https://books.google.com/books?id=VFlHAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA215. 
  6. Nichols, Mary Josephine Genung; Nichols, Leon Nelson (1906). Genung, Ganong, Ganung Genealogy: A History of the Descendants of Jean Guenon of Flushing, Long Island. Brooklyn, NY: A. W. Heinrichs. p. 509. https://books.google.com/books?id=UU5MAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA509. 
  7. Remarkable Trials of All Countries, pp. 214-215
  8. Remarkable Trials of All Countries, p. 215
  9. Remarkable Trials of All Countries, p. 216
  10. Remarkable Trials of All Countries, p. 217
  11. Remarkable Trials of All Countries, pp. 216-217
  12. Remarkable Trials of All Countries, pp. 216-217
  13. Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, from February 13, 1866 to July 28, 1866, Inclusive. XIV, Part II. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. 1887. p. 744. https://books.google.com/books?id=S-6GAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA744. 
  14. United States Army Adjutant General (1866). War Department General Orders, 1865. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office. p. 53. https://archive.org/stream/generalorder00unit#page/52/mode/2up. 
  15. Nicolson, Frank W. (1911). Alumni Record of Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn.. New Haven, CT: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor. p. 644. https://books.google.com/books?id=86hGAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA644. 
  16. "The Albany Murder". Brooklyn, NY. June 5, 1867. p. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/50392674/. 
  17. Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York. 1. Albany, NY: C. Van Benthuysen & Sons. January 1, 1867. p. 3. https://books.google.com/books?id=PW0bAQAAIAAJ&pg=PP9. 
  18. Underhill, Edward F. (1868). Report of the Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention of the State of New York. V. Albany, NY: Weed Parsons and Company. p. 136. https://books.google.com/books?id=1KA6AAAAcAAJ&pg=PR136. 
  19. "5 Jun 1867, Page 2 - The Brooklyn Daily Eagle at Newspapers.com". newspapers.com. https://www.newspapers.com/image/50392674/. Retrieved 2016-09-19. 
  20. Smith, Marsha, Backbone Ridge History Group (June 1, 2013). "George Washington Cole". Trumansburg, NY. pp. 1, 3. http://www.backboneridgehistorygroup.com/newsletters/Summer2013.pdf. 
  21. The Backbone
  22. The Backbone
  23. "Obituary, Geo. W. Cole". Las Vegas, NM. December 25, 1875. p. 1. https://www.newspapers.com/image/171237600/. 
  24. Remarkable Trials of All Countries, p. 420
  25. "25 Dec 1875, Page 1 - Las Vegas Gazette at Newspapers.com | "Obituary, Geo. W. Cole"". newspapers.com. https://www.newspapers.com/image/171237600/. Retrieved 2016-09-19. 
  26. Remarkable Trials of All Countries, p. 420
  27. "The Ceran St. Vrain Family Cemetery, Mora, New Mexico". Mora, NM. June 1, 2016. p. 6. http://stvrainmill.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/St.-Vrain-Mill-Foundation-Newsletter-2-copy.pdf. 

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