Thankful Thursday- George W. Alexander’s Civil War Service

George W. Alexander- Enlistment Record
George W. Alexander- Enlistment Record, Part 1. (Click to enlarge.) 
George W. Alexander- Enlistment Record, Part 2. (Click to enlarge.)

George W. Alexander’s business card (See previous post Wordless Wednesday- George W. Alexander) states he was in Company M, 4th New York Artillery, which was part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac. Trying to find his Civil War record, or any proof of enlistment, has been, well, trying.

So is the above record actually for “our” George W. Alexander?

George W. Alexander (1847-1915) was born in Frankfort, Germany, per this enlistment record, and the census records for our known George indicate Germany as his birthplace as well. 

The known George immigrated in 1862 per the 1900 census, or 1863 per the 1910 census, so may have joined the Union forces in New York because his port of entry may have been in that place. Immigration to the US decreased very dramatically during the Civil War, so it is interesting that George would have immigrated in 1862. (Note to self: research what was going on in Germany in 1862 to maybe find clues of his reason for immigration.)

The above enlistment record provides quite a lot of information, including that this George W. Alexander was enlisted April 21, in Cincinnati, Ohio at age 21 by Capt. O’Connell for a 3 year enlistment; his occupation was listed as a soldier. He had blue eyes, light hair and a fair complexion, and was 5’8″ tall, relatively tall for that time.

The date written at the top of the page for the enlistment records was 1868, so it was too late to really participate in Civil War action. This enlistment record states he was discharged 08 Jun 1869. We have not found information on where our known George Alexander was during 1868-1869, so that is another puzzle piece to find- it might prove that this is not “our” George W. The age does align though.

George was a telegrapher at one point in his life- possibly while in the Army?

I have searched all the sources below over the years and recently, plus many more, and still cannot find records or pensions to prove Civil War service for ‘our’ George W. Alexander. Of course, it doesn’t mean that he did not serve, as there are other family members that did serve yet we cannot find records.

So the search will continue to find more details, but for now, thank you, George, for serving your new country in such a horrible war that made the US whole again.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) His entry in the 1910 US federal census states he was a Veteran of the Union Army. Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: St Louis Ward 11, Saint Louis City, Missouri; Roll: T624_816; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0172; FHL microfilm: 1374829. Accessed 03/19/2014 on

2) National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database- no George Alexander, or George W. Alexander, was found in this unit., accessed 03/19/2014.

3) Civil War Archive- Regimental histories. Does not list soldiers, but notes the 4th Reg. Heavy Artillery was organized Nov. 1861-Feb 1862 in NY, and left for Washington DC 10 Feb 1862. The unit protected the DC area until March, 1864, and was at Appomattox Courthouse on 09 April 1865 for the surrender of Lee and his Army. The unit was honorably discharged on 16 Sep 1865. The unit had lost 116 men killed and mortally wounded in service, and lost 338 by disease., accessed 03/19/2014.

4) FamilySearch Wiki was used for background and sources in which to search.,_New_York_Heavy_Artillery, accessed 03/16/2014.

5) Researched NY Militia units, and there was no 4th Regiment. Sources include, accessed 03/17/2014.

6) There was a 4th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery unit in the National Guard. These enlistments were for 30 days, and the men were mustered in 20 Jun 1863 at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and mustered out 24 Jul 1863. I have been unable to find a listing of these soldiers, but they should all be listed in the NPS Soldiers and Sailors Database.

7) US Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 on, accessed 03/19/2014. Searched New York records and some Missouri- no persons have a preponderance of evidence to indicate they are the George W. Alexander in question.

8) Alexander Family History on Ancestry- name origins, links to all Alexander military records, etc., accessed 03/19/2014.

9) 4th Artillery Regiment (Heavy), NY Volunteers Civil War Newspaper Clippings- no George W. Alexander found., accessed 03/19/2014.

10) search for George W. Alexander- 37 hits, none fit well with the know facts of  ‘our’ George W. Alexander.

11) 1900 US Federal Census, George W. Alexander as head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: St Louis Ward 10, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 893; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0153; FHL microfilm: 1240893.


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