Dog tag identified to Private George A. Hunt - Inventory Number: IDE 078 / SOLD
76th Regt. Volunteer Infantry
Company “F” 1861 – 1862
Hunt’s identification disc, now accompanied by a black mourning ribbon which was likely worn by his mother at his funeral service and later attached to the disc.” The disc reads:
GEO. A. HUNT CO. F
76TH REGT. N.Y.S.V.
Andrew and Elizabeth Hunt were married in the fall of 1840 at Dryden's Corner, Thompkins County, New York. They settled in the small farm town of Cazenovia in the foothills of central New York, Andrew Hunt was 27 at the time and had married rather late in life. Their first and only son George was born in 1843. Eleven years later, in 1854 he was joined by a sister, Blendelia and another sister, Jane in 1856.
The Hunts seem to have made a meager living on a small farm in the foothill community. While in his early teens, young George went to work on neighboring farms, giving his earnings to the family for their support.
In 1861, George celebrated his 18th birthday. His interests were likely far distant from the political strife then dividing the nation in Washington. But as the winds of war began to sweep central New York, something stirred him to leave his small hometown and enter the conflict.
He may have been driven by a desire for adventure or possibly he became caught up in the patriotic fervor so evident in 19th Century America. Or he may have been enticed by New York enlistment bounty which his parents later used to purchase a small farm. Regardless of his motivation, George enlisted on October 7, 1861 from Cazenovia, Madison County, New York. Four days later he mustered into Company “F” of the 76th New York Infantry in New Woodstock, New York. The regiment immediately shipped off to Washington, D.C., where as part of the 3rd Brigade, Army of the Potomac, they manned the defenses around Washington through the balance of the Winter of 1862. During this time, "Private Hunt returned $100, most of his payroll proceedings back to his family.
The 76" New York "Cortland Regiment" so named for the large number of recruits from nearby Cortland County, were to eventually see action in nearly every major engagement of the Eastern war. They were ranked among the "three hundred fighting regiments" for their hard-fighting record at such engagements as Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Brandy Station, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. But it was to be their very first encounter with the Rebels at Gainesville, Virginia that would prove most critical to Private Hunt.
In the Spring of 1862, the New Yorkers departed Washington and squared off against the Confederate army in Virginia. The summer was spent in relatively harmless long-range picket firing and war did not seem all that bad. Then, in August General "Pope commenced his campaign in northern Virginia. War was suddenly to become very real for Private Hunt for here General Pope would lose more than 14,000 men.
With the arrival of his sister Blendelia's 7th birthday on
August 21st, George must have reflected on his absence from family and home,
However, any such thoughts soon disappeared, for seven days later, on August
28th the 76th New York along with a number of other regiments from New York and
Pennsylvania. engaged the Confederates at Gainesville, Virginia. This was to be
George's first experience under fire. During the fighting, 18-year-old Private
Hunt was shot through both knees and was left among the fallen Union soldiers
on the battlefield. He was taken from among the dead by the Confederates that
evening after the Union Army had been driven from the field.
In his severely wounded condition, Private Hunt was exchanged as a prisoner of war at nearby Groveton, Virginia four days later and was quickly moved to College General Hospital in Georgetown, outside Washington D.C. After eight days in the hospital, on September 12, 1862, young George Hunt died as a result of his wounds.
The location of Private Hunt's grave is not known. "But his personal effects appear to have been returned to his parents. Among them was his identification disc, now accompanied by a black mourning ribbon which was likely worn by his mother at his funeral service and later attached to the disc.”
Inventory Number: IDE 078 / SOLD