“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Perryville in Boyle County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

George P. Webster's Brigade

Perryville • The Battle For Kentucky

— October 8, 1862 —

George P. Webster's Brigade Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bradley Owen, October 16, 2019
1. George P. Webster's Brigade Marker
Colonel George Penny Webster, commander of the Union 34th Brigade at Perryville, was born near Middletown, Ohio, on December 24, 1824. An attorney, Webster volunteered for the Mexican War where he was wounded in the shoulder during the Battle of Monterey in September of 1846.

When the Civil War erupted, Webster left his law practice and volunteered for service in the Union army. In the early stages of the conflict, Webster served as major of the 25th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The unit fought against the Confederates in western Virginia (now West Virginia) and central Virginia in late 1861 and early 1862. It performed with exceptional distinction, fighting against Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall” Jackson during the battle of McDowell on May 8, 1862. In late summer of that year George Webster was promoted to colonel and transferred to the western theater. He formed his own regiment, the 98th Ohio Infantry and was organized at Steubenville, Ohio and mustered in for three years' service on August 20, 1862. The regiment was recruited in eastern Ohio.

Webster was soon after promoted to command of the 34th Brigade of the

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Army of the Ohio's Tenth Division. The 98th Ohio was part of this brigade, along with the 80th Indiana, the 50th Ohio, the 121st Ohio, and Samuel J. Harris' 19th Indiana Battery. Within two months Webster led the 34th in the battle of Perryville. Webster's brigade entered the Battle of Perryville with 3,171 men.

Because of timing, lay of the land, and other considerations, the remainder of the Tenth Division, including its commander, James S. Jackson, was deployed just over a half mile north. This left Colonel Webster with what amounted to an independent command consisting of men who had never seen combat. Many were armed with antiquated Prussian muskets that were old and unreliable. General Jackson was soon killed, further isolating Webster's Brigade from the chain of command. The other brigadier general in 10th Division, William R. Terrill, was killed soon after.

Webster's Brigade was based around the 19th Indiana Battery which was posted on the ridge just over 100 yards to northeast of here, the highest ground on the battlefield. After the more forward Union troops belonging to Lovell Rousseau's 3rd Division gave away under tremendous pressure, the fight came to Webster's Brigade. After putting up a gallant stand, the veteran, but bloodied Confederate troops of Benjamin Cheatham's Division, supported by the fresh Confederate Brigade commanded by St. John Liddell's

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Brigade, pushed over the ridge, driving the panicked survivors of Webster's Brigade towards this location. In this general area, Colonel Webster was shot in the hip and fell from his horse while rallying his men. Webster was taken to a field hospital where he soon died of his wound. Webster's death, along with the deaths of Jackson and Terrill, marked the complete decapitation of the 10th Division. At no other time in the Civil War were a division commander, and all of its brigade commanders killed in a single action.

Webster's 34th Brigade suffered 89 killed, 417 wounded, and 139 men missing or captured, totaling 645 which amounted to just over 20% casualties.

Twenty Years after Webster's death, some of the soldiers fought with him erected a monument at the Steubenville, Ohio cemetery, where he lies buried. The inscription reads: "it is sweet and glorious to die for one's country".

Many of our guns were defective, and when I rammed down my second cartridge I discovered my gun contained two loads. I re-primed, however, and thought I would "double the dose” by firing two balls at once; but my gun again refused to fire. I retired down the hill, took off the tube [nipple], picked the powder in the touch hole, primed, advanced and made the third effort to fire, but there was not sufficient power in the lock to burst the cap. I stood and snapped four times, but in vain. I then threw down my gun in disgust—picked up another, tried it with the ramrod and found it like mine—containing two loads. Picked up the second and it was in the same condition—the third ditto—the fourth had lead just about one foot from the muzzle. - Private Joseph P. Glezen, 80th Indiana Infantry

[Webster] told me he thought he was mortally wounded, and prayed for God to have mercy on his soul. He also said "Tell my dear wife and children they were in my last thoughts.” - Sergeant Major Duncan C. Milner, 98th Ohio Infantry.

Colonel George Penny Webster, 12/24/1824—10/8/1862
Much of this information was supplied by Judge William Webster, Great, Great Grandson of George P. Webster

Erected by Mr. and Mrs. John L. Nau, III. (Marker Number 42.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is October 8, 1862.
Location. 37° 40.19′ N, 84° 58.816′ W. Marker is in Perryville, Kentucky, in Boyle County. Marker is on Whites Road east of Hays Mays Road, on the right when traveling east. Located at Interpretive Marker 42 on the Perryville Battlefield Trail System (Slaughter Pen Trail). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Perryville KY 40468, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 80th Indiana (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Illinois Soldiers at Perryville (about 400 feet away); The John C. Russell House (about 400 feet away); General Polk Behind Enemy Lines (about 400 feet away); Harris' Battery (about 500 feet away); Dixville Crossroads (about 500 feet away); Russell House (about 600 feet away); The Slaughter Pen (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Perryville.
Also see . . .  Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. Kentucky State Parks (Submitted on March 3, 2021.) 

Credits. This page was last revised on March 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on March 2, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. This page has been viewed 276 times since then and 30 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on March 2, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Jun. 20, 2024