George Henry Bates papers 1862-1865
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Biography

Bates, George Henry

Rank : Pvt., Cpl. (1865)

Regiment : 19th Connecticut Infantry Regiment. Co. D (1862-1863)
2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery Regiment (1863-1865)

Service :1862 September 11-1865 July 7

George Henry Bates was the eldest of four children of William Bates of Terryville, Conn. As a teenager, Bates enlisted in the 19th Connecticut Infantry, which was re-outfitted as the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery in November, 1863. His motives for enlisting remain unclear, but the financial pull of military employment appears to have played a part in his decision, as did a sincere and abiding patriotism.

Over six feet tall, Bates was an unusually sensitive young man in love with song-fests and religion, and he was deadly serious about maintaining his high standards of morality. During his service, Bates evinced a concern with the lack of Sabbath observance in the army and was highly offended by the open prostitution he witnessed in Alexandria, Va. He regularly sponsored weekly prayer meetings in his tent, undaunted by the jeers directed at the "Terryville Pious Squad."

The 19th Connecticut Infantry was stationed in Virginia throughout its enlistment, but never engaged in battle until it had been reorganized as the 2nd Connecticut Volunteer Artillery. Bates' first encounter with heavy fighting was at Cold Springs in June, 1864, and thereafter, the regiment entered into six further battles in the Shenandoah Valley and Petersburg theaters. Wounded at the third Battle of Winchester in September, 1864, Bates missed two of these engagements while recuperating in a hospital, but was present at Cold Harbor, Hatcher's Run, and Petersburg, as well as at Winchester.