Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Businessman Turned Soldier

Confederate Brigadier General George Pierce Doles was killed while inspecting his troops at the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 2nd 1864.

George Pierce Doles was born May 14th 1830 in Milledgeville, Georgia the son of Josiah and Martha (Pierce) Doles.  He attended local schools, and at 16 tried to run away with his brother to join the army fighting the Mexican American War.  Their father caught them and brought them home.  Doles was a businessman in his hometown, and became the Captain of his local militia company the “Baldwin Blues”.

When the Civil War started Doles enlisted with the rest of “Baldwin Blues” and became a part of the 4th Georgia Infantry.  He was appointed Colonel of the 4th on May 9th 1861, leading them during the Peninsula Campaign.  He was wounded at the Battle of Malvern Hill by a bursting shell.  The 4th was part of Ripley’s Brigade, and when Confederate General Roswell S Ripley was wounded at the Battle of Antietam, Dole led the brigade in an assault at Miller Cornfield.  Dole was officially placed in command of the brigade November 1st 1862 with his promotion to Brigadier General. He saw action at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.  At Gettysburg Dole’s Brigade lost 16% of their strength on the first day of the fight.  His Brigade was overrun at the Mule Shoe during the Battle of Spotsylvania on May 10th 1864.  He escaped capture there only by lying on the ground and playing dead, until a counter attack was made.

On June 2nd 1864 during the Battle of Cold Harbor, Doles was supervising the building of entrenchments near Bethesda Church, Virginia when a Union sharpshooter shot and killed him.  He is buried in the Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville, Georgia.

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