George Henry Thomas
Before graduation from West Point in 1840, Thomas was born in South Hampton county, Virginia on July 31st 1816. After graduation, he fought in the Mexican War, and later taught at West Point from 1851 to 1854. Thomas earned the nick name the "Rock of Chickamauga" after his strong defenses at the Battle of Chickamauga, in Tennessee, held the Confederates at bay from September 19th to 20th, 1863, until reinforcements arrived permitting the Federals an orderly withdrawal. Promoted to brigadier general and given command of the Army of the Cumberland, he played a key role in the Union victory at Chattanooga. At Nashville, Thomas halted Confederate forces under General John B. Hood that threatened to cut the Federals' communications lines. Thomas later commanded military governments in Kentucky and Tennessee and the Division of the Pacific.
Bibliography: Cleaves, Freeman, Rock of Chickamauga (1948; repr. 1986); Palumbo, F. A., Major General George Henry Thomas (1983).