Sitting astride his mount, Saddler George Henry McCoon of the 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry is ready to ride from his home base at Fort Scott, Kan. Armed with a sword and revolver, his saddlebags, stuffed haversack, bedroll, and greatcoat indicate he plans to be away for a while. An Empire State native who relocated to Wisconsin before the war, he joined Company I of the 3rd in February 1862.
Sent westward, the regiment participated in numerous operations in Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas over the next three years, notably the December 1862 Battle of Prairie Grove, which secured northwestern Arkansas for U.S. forces. McCoon’s Company I is conspicuously mentioned in a regimental sketch published in The Union Army.
McCoon survived his military service and resided at Fort Scott for a time after the war. He is posed here with an unidentified man at Carroll Plaza, the location of the parade ground of the U.S. Army’s original Fort Scott, which existed from 1842-1853. The former dragoon stables built in the 1840s are visible in the background.
At some point, McCoon left Kansas and settled in California. In 1900, he kept a boarding house in Oakland. He died in 1917 at age 88. He outlived his first wife, Julia. His second wife, Mary, and four children from his first marriage survived him.
Special thanks to Arnold W. Schofield.
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