George Fisher

soldiers posing for photo
George Fisher (right) and an unidentified comrade, photographed at age 16 or 17 while serving during the Civil War in Company A, 7th Maryland Infantry

NPS Volunteer/ Kirk Fisher

When Captain George L. Fisher passed away in December, 1927, an era ended. Fisher was the last Civil War veteran to serve as the Superintendent of Antietam National Cemetery. His was a career that spanned more than 5 decades, and Fisher compiled an astounding military record.

Fisher emigrated from Bavaria in the early 1850s as a small child and his family settled in Buck Valley, Fulton County, Pennsylvania. His military career began at age 15 in 1862, when he enlisted in Company A, 7th Maryland Infantry (Union) at Hagerstown. He served through the Overland Campaigns and was captured at Weldon Railroad in September, 1864. He spent time as a prisoner of war at Libby Prison, Danville, Virginia and Salisbury, North Carolina before being exchanged in March, 1865.

 
Civil War vets standing near large boulder
George Fisher (right) and an unidentified comrade of the Hagerstown Light Infantry, photographed around 1890 on the rocks of Devil's Den at Gettysburg National Military Park.

NPS Volunteer/Kirk Fisher

Fisher enlisted in the 2nd United States Infantry in 1866 and served until 1879, rising in rank to First Sergeant. He served in Kentucky before the unit was sent to the deep south as part of the post-war occupation and reconstruction period. In 1878, the regiment was transferred to Idaho where it participated in operations against the Nez Perce tribe.

In 1880, Fisher returned to Hagerstown, and joined the “Hagerstown Light Infantry” of the Maryland National Guard, and served over 30 years in the Guard. He was commissioned a lieutenant in 1888, and by the time the unit was mobilized to serve as Company B, 1st Maryland Volunteers in the Spanish American War, Fisher was the company's captain. As a citizen of Hagerstown, he was employed by the Cumberland Valley Railroad, joined a church, served as a scoutmaster for Washington County's first troop of the Boy Scouts of America and served in the Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company. He was also active in Hagerstown's posts of the Grand Army of the Republic and the United Spanish War Veterans.

 
old veteran posing for photo
Captain Fisher, photographed in Baltimore while attending a convention of the Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Maryland in 1924.

NPS Volunteer/Stephen R. Bockmiller

In 1917, he was called out of retirement to serve as a drill instructor for the Maryland Home Guard, which was formed to fill the domestic role of the Maryland National Guard while that body was overseas in France as part of General Pershing's forces in World War I. As such, he was one of very few Civil War Veterans to serve in any uniformed role
in World War I.

Fisher was made superintendent of Antietam National Cemetery in early 1927, and served for less than a year before his passing on Christmas, 1927.

Fisher left an astonishing photographic record.

 

Last updated: January 16, 2018

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