1st Confederate Infantry Battalion, Company A, Forney's Regiment, Tilghman's Brigade

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Lt. Colonel George H. Forney

 

George Hoke Forney  was born in 1835 in Lincoln Co., NC. His Grandfather was a General in the NC militia and fought the British and the Cherokees. His 3 brothers were also Confederate Officers; Major General John H. Forney, Brigadier General Wm. H. Forney (wounded 5 times), and Major Daniel Peter Forney 3rd AL Cavalry.

 

    George was elected 1LT of the Calhoun Guards in his hometown militia unit renamed the "Calhoun Light Infantry" as from a newspaper article dated Jan 19, 1860. When the unit mustered in the Confederate Army, the Calhoun Guards became company A, 2nd Alabama Infantry. George enlisted Feb 23rd, 1861, then when that enlistment expired, he was elected Captain of 2nd company of the 1st Confederate Infantry Battalion on Jan 28th, 1862. He was promoted to Major May 12th, 1862 and then to Lt. Colonel on July 5th, 1862.

 

 According to the resident expert NPS Historian at Richmond in 2004,  Lt. Col  Forney was probably killed somewhere in the dense woods along the Plank Road during the Wilderness Battle, this is the location where the 1st Battalion was deployed. Here are some other obscure facts.  George had a  body servant named John and when Lt Col. Forney was killed, John took his uniform jacket off of him to bring home to his family. Unfortunately, this left his body without any indication  that he was an officer or of  his identity  and  probably caused the body to be buried in a mass or un-marked grave. Most of these graves were relocated after the war and were sent to the Spotsylvania or Fredericksburg Confederate Cemeteries for reburial. According to family information, the uniform John brought home showed a bullet-hole over the heart and when his mother died in 1881, her last request was that  it be placed in the bottom of her casket. And there it lies today. Interestingly enough, Maj. Gen. John H. Forney received a letter from a Mr. J. R. Pryor of Mines, PA in July 1882 stating he was there with Lt. Col. Forney when he was killed and knew where he was buried.  As this was 18 years after the incident , upon attempting to locate the burial site , the location was found to be too over grown to be identified had changed or the body had already been located and removed to one of  the Confederate cemeteries because to date  his grave is still unknown and any “unknown” Confederate soldier's grave could be his.

 

There is a stained glass window dedicated to his memory at the St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Jacksonville Al, where all the Forney's worshipped. It was built in 1856 and is totally restored to its original condition. We owe him to tell his story.

 

The above information has been provide to us by retired Sgt. Maj. Thom Cole  U.S.A. of Jacksonville Al., the Forney's home town. Thom is in the process of researching and writing a book on Lt. Col George. H. Forney. He maintains a collection of his personal war time letters and other items of interest on the subject. Thom has provided us with a copy of the only know photo of Lt. Col Forney, the original is now lost . Thom found us by accident and we are in much debt to him. We much anticipate the completion of his book and are looking forward to its completion.

 

 

Lt. Col. George Hoke Forney

1835 - 1864

 

This is the only known image of the Lt. Colonel, when he was a 2nd Lt.  

 

Please click on the images of the glass window to enlarge and better appreciate it beauty.  Also is a map available at The Civil War Preservation Trust of "The Wilderness", where Lt. Colonel Forney was killed in action.
Wilderness, May 5th   Wilderness, May 6th
 

 

 

 
 

 
 

 

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Last modified: 05/04/12