The deadliest day in Vermont history, May 5, 1864, lives in infamy. Hundreds of miles south of the Green Mountain State, in the rough and tumble landscape of The Wilderness in Virginia, Vermonters suffered severe losses during a ferocious fight. When the battle ended and casualties tallied, the grim roll included 1,234 Vermonters.
One of them, George Washington Tucker, served as a private in Company C of the 3rd Vermont Infantry. At some point during the engagement, he suffered a flesh wound in his thigh, initially described as minor. And it was, compared to many of his comrades. Still, the injury resulted in hospital time in Fredericksburg, Va., and later in Vermont.
Medical professionals ultimately deemed Tucker unfit for the rigors of camp and campaign, though they did find him able to withstand light duties and dispatched him to the Veteran Reserve Corps detachment in St. Albans, Vt. He thrived there, rising in rank to corporal before being discharged in the autumn of 1865.
Tucker’s experiences on the medical side of the military may have inspired him to join the regular army. In 1866, he enrolled as a hospital steward in the 12th U.S. Infantry, and served until 1869. He later became a surgeon and worked at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va.
On an autumn day in 1890, while attempting to move a trunk in his house located near Fort Myer, he fell down a flight of stairs and broke his neck. He was about 50 years old. He was buried in nearby Arlington Cemetery.
This portrait is part of the Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) Book Project. Established by Jim Quinlan, owner of The Excelsior Brigade, its mission is to identify approximately 15,000 Civil War veterans interred on the hallowed grounds of the cemetery, and to provide a biographical sketch and photograph of each individual. If you have an image to share, or would like more information about the ANC project, please contact Jim at 703-307-0344.