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Brevet Captain George Henry Pettis, U.S.V.

Brevet Captain George Henry Pettis was born at Pawtucket, Rhode Island, March 17, 1834; his family removed to the village of Cohoes, New York, in 1837. He attended the public schools in that village until he was twelve years of age, when he entered the office of the Cataract, the first newspaper published in that village; in 1849 removed to Providence, Rhode Island, where he followed the occupation of printer until 1854, when he went to California, arriving at San Francisco on June 17 of that year, on the steamer " Brother Jonathan," via Nicaragua; he was engaged at mining in the vicinity of Garrote, Tuolumne County, from June, 1854, until May, 1858, when he arrived at San Francisco en route to Frazer River. The Frazer River bubble having collapsed, he resumed his occupation as a printer, and was employed on the Alta California and Morning Call, and held a situation on the Herald when President Lincoln made a call upon California for troops. He entered the military service of the United States August 16, 1861, as second lieutenant Company B, First California Infantry, Colonel James H. Carleton; promoted to first lieutenant Company K, same regiment, January 1, 1862, commanding the company nearly all of the time, until mustered out on February 15, 1865, when he was immediately mustered into the service again as first lieutenant Company F, First New Mexico Infantry, Colonel Francisco Paula Abreł. He commanded Company F until promoted to adjutant of the regiment June 1, 1865, and was finally mustered out, his " services being no longer required," September 1, 1866, at Santa Fe, New Mexico, by Captain Asa B. Cary, Thirteenth United States Infantry, A. C. M., having served continuously five years and fifteen days. Was in a number of skirmishes with Apache and Navajo Indians; brevetted captain United States volunteers March 13, 1865, " for distinguished gallantry in the engagement at the Adobe Walls, Texas, with the Comanche and Kiowa Indians," November 25, 1864, in which he commanded a section of mountain howitzers mounted on prairie carriages. This expedition was under the command of Colonel Kit Carson, First New Mexico Cavalry. This engagement took place on the north bank of the Canadian River, in the " pan-handle" of Texas, near the boundary-line of the Indian Territory, and lasted from break of day until night. The forces of Carson consisted of about one hundred and fifty California and New Mexican cavalry, with the two gun-detachments of twenty-six men, while the enemy numbered over five thousand of the best Comanche and Kiowa warriors. Colonel Carson reiterated until the day of his death that "if it hadn't bin for them `spiritual case' of Pettis's not a man of the expedition would have escaped from the valley of the Canadian River on that day." Upon being mustered out of service he located with his family at Los Algodones, county of San Ana, forty-five miles south of Santa Fe, where he established the " Railroad House, No. 4.44 Broadway," and performed the duties of U. S. Forage Agent, and a post-office being established at this village, he was appointed postmaster in 1867.

In 1868 he removed from New Mexico to Providence, Rhode Island; was a member of the Common Council from the Ninth Ward from June, 1872, to January, 1876, and a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives in 1876 and 1877; was boarding-officer of the port of Providence from 1878 to 1885; was marine editor of the Providence journal from 1885 to 1887; is now sealer of weights and measures and superintendent of street signs and numbers at Providence, Rhode Island.

Became a member of the Grand Army of the Republic by joining Kit Carson Post, No. 1, Department of New Mexico, in 1868, and joined Slocum Post, No. 10, Department of Rhode Island, by transfer, in 1872, of which post he held the offices of adjutant and chaplain; was a charter member of Arnold Post, No. 4, Department of Rhode Island, in 1877, of which post he has held the positions of officer of the day and senior vice-commander; was chief mustering-officer, Department of Rhode Island, in 1877 and 1879, and assistant mustering officer in 1890; was a member of the National Council of Administration, and a delegate to the Twentieth National Encampment, held at San Francisco in 1886.

Became a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, Commandery of California, November 10, 1886. Insignia No. 5065.

He is secretary of the California Veteran Volunteer Association, and secretary of the United States Veteran Association, of Providence, Rhode Island; a member of the Society of California Volunteers of San Francisco, California, and various other societies.

Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419 pgs.

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