George Wilsman Biography Page

George Wilsman
Private, Co. H

Date and Place of Birth: April 21, 1843, Cincinnati, OH
Spouse: Louise Schaaf (b. 1850 - d. 7-23-1923)
Children: John F (b. 1871? - d. 12-16-1952, Lewella R (b. 11-20-1876 - d. 10-2-1894 ), Flora E (b. 1879 or 1880), Elmer E (b. 1885? - d. 1-12-1963), Wallace (b. ? - d. 11-23-1926), Sadie Heady (b. 1890? - d. 7-28-1955), Mrs. H H Kokomore (?)
Date and Place of Death:  August 16, 1940, Evansville, IN
Place of Burial: Campground Cemetery, Santa Claus, IN (Spencer County).
Military History: Captured at the Battle of Chickamauga and prisoner of war for 14 months and was detained at Andersonville Prison for part of that time
Comments: George Wilsman might have been the last Civil War veteran to be buried in Spencer County.

Last living member of GAR Post 332 in Dale, IN
Submitter of Information:   Susie Rose, Ronald Mosocco, Tim Beckman

The following article is believed to be from an Evansville, IN newspaper, probably in April 1939, but exact date unknown.  This article and picture is used courtesy of the Ronald Mosocco Collection (


George Wilsman To Be Honored at Dinner Friday Night

 George Wilsman, 1004 Jefferson-av, celebrated his ninety-sixth birthday Friday.
    A Union soldier in the Civil War, he was captured by Confederates at Snodgrass Ridge, Chickamauga, and for 14 months was kept at Andersonville Prison in Georgia.
    He was exchanged in 1865 for a southern prisoner.
    Mr. Wislman celebrated his birthday quietly.  He makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. Lloyd V. Heady, who says members of the family will come to their home for a birthday dinner Friday night.
    Besides Mrs. Heady, Mr. Wilsman has two sons, John and Elmer, Evansville business men.
    Still physically active, the war veteran enjoys auto rides now that failing eyesight prevents his reading.
    Only 18 years old when he enlisted, Mr. Wilsman says he entered the war to “prove my faith in Lincoln.”
    He was born in Cincinnati, O., but spent his boyhood in Spencer County, Indiana, which he describes as “Uncle Abe’s neighborhood.”
    He fought under General Lew Wallace and Capt. James H. Bryant, Company H, Forty-Second Indiana Infantry.
    After the war, he lived on a farm near Lincoln City, but in 1917 came to Evansville where he has made his home since.

Obit of George Wilsman
Evansville Courier, 8/17/1940, p. 2

Special Thanks to Susie Rose for her help in finding this obit

Death Claims Wilsman, 97, Civil War Prison Survivor

Last Veteran Residing in City Held 10 Months at Andersonville


George Wilsman, 97, last Member of Jackson post, G.A.R. at Dale, and last surviving Evansville Civil war veteran, died yesterday at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Lloyd F. Heady, 1004 Jefferson avenue, after a year’s illness.

Mr. Wilsman was a Union survivor of confinement in the Andersonville confederate prison, where he was held 10 months following his capture Sept. 21, 1863, at Snodgrass Ridge, Chickamauga.  Eleven others of his company also were captured at the time.

Born in Cincinnati

Funeral services will be held at the Klee and Burkhart funeral chapel at 1 o’clock Monday afternoon, and at 3 o’clock at the Santa Claus Methodist church, Rev. W. J. G. Bockstahler, retired Methodist minister, officiating.  Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Tentative plans last night called for full military honors at the church, with the American Legion post at Santa Claus.

A native of Cincinnati, O., where he was born in 1843, he came with his parents to Dale, then known as Elizabeth, at the age of three.  As a youth, he played in and near the Lincoln cabin, between Gentryville and Dale.

Enlisted at 18

Enlisting in Co. H, 42nd Indiana Volunteers, at 18, Mr. Wilsman served nearly four years.  Along with other prisoners, he was exchanged and sent north in March, 1865, and discharged at Indianapolis.

In 1870, he married Miss Louise Schaaf, Dale, who died in 1923.  He had been living in Evansville since 1917, when he retired after having spent 50 years farming near Lincoln City.

Surviving, besides Mrs. Heady, are two sons, John and Elmer; a half-sister, Mrs. Rosena Kolenberg, Dale; a half-brother, Charles Wernke, Longmont, Colo.; nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

During his lifetime, Mr. Wilsman told many stories of his army service and was a ready and willing consultant on events which occurred at Andersonville prison.

Obit of George Wilsman
Evansville Press, 8/17/1940

Special Thanks to Susie Rose for her help in finding this obit



George Wilsman (above), 97 - 
year-old, Civil War veteran and 
former Spencer County farmer 
for over 50 years, died Friday 
after a year's illness in the home 
of a daughter, Mrs. Lloyd F. 
Heady, 1004 Jefferson-av.

*     *     *     *     *     *


Civil War Veteran Dies Here at 97

George Wilsman, perhaps the last Union soldier who survived the ordeal in Andersonville Confederate Prison in the Civil War, died, Friday after a year's illness in the home of a daughter, Mrs Lloyd F Heady, 1004 Jefferson - av.  He was 97 last April 21. 

Serving nearly four years during the Civil War he spent 13 months in the military prison camp at Andersonville, Ga., after capture at Snodgrass Ridge, Chicamaugua. The last member of Jackson Post, Grand Army of the Republic, at Dale, Ind., he also is believed to be the last Civil War veteran who was living in Evansville. Born in Cincinnati, O., in 1843, he moved with his parents when he was three years old to Dale, then known as Elizabeth.

Lincoln's Cabin

With Charles W Wedeking, Dale, and the late Frederick Kokomoore, another veteran, he played hide-and-seek as a youth inside the untenanted frontier cabin of Abe Lincoln, between Gentryville and Dale.  Just after his eighteenth birthday he enlisted in Company H, Forty-second Indiana Volunteers, under Capt. James H Bryant.  At Snodgrass Ridge (web author’s note: Snodgrass Ridge was located on the Chickamauga Battlefield), Sept. 21, 1863, he was captured with 11 isolated, hungry Hoosiers in the same company, after surviving heavy fighting the preceding day.

Camp To Camp

They were given hardtack and a pint of hot coffee and started marching to a prison camp.

After being shifted from camp to camp he was sent to Andersonville to help Negro laborers erect a pine log stockade, hastily built to hold 10,000 men. It was turned into a human corral of 31,678 prisoners guarded by 400 armed sentinels.

Men burrowed into holes, others crawled under blankets that were improvised tents, crowded so that they slept against each other’s elbows. 

Heat, bad food, polluted water and despondency were chief causes for the deaths among the men at the rate of 100 a day for several months, Mr. Wilsman has often said.

Mr. Wilsman later bore no malice toward Capt. Henry Wirz, his "tough Dutchman" prison master who was, Mr. Wilsman believed, unjustly hanged for reported in-humanity to soldiers.

Own Comrades Fought

"My prison experience, chiefly suffering from scurvy and hunger, indicted the frenzies of wartorn humanity." Mr. Wilsman said two years ago.

"My own comrades inside the pens fought me for food, clothes and trinkets. Men were killed for their skillets and battered drinking cups." We prisoners hanged six of our own boys for murder and scourged 18 others, made them run the gauntlet before thousands of men. Some died.

Was Exchanged

"Though stern, Commander Wirz, the guards and sentries over us were less barbarous than the prisoners to one another.

"After the war Yankee vengeance forgot that a weakened, famine-encompassed South, throughout that last year of disaster, was unable to properly care for its prisoners of war, that not until late 1864 did the North afford any arrangement for exchange of prisoners."

Mr. Wilsman was exchanged, sent North in March, 1865, and discharged in Indianapolis.

He was married in 1870 to Miss Louise Schaaf, Dale, who died in 1923. 

After the war he returned to Spencer County, where he spent his youth, and farmed for 50 years near Lincoln City. He came to Evansville in 1917 after retiring.

Surviving besides Mrs Heady are; sons, John & Elmer, both connected with the L & N Railway Company; a half sister, Mrs. Rosena Kolenberg, Dale; a half brother Charles Wernke, Longmont, Colo.; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. The body is in Klee and Burkhart’s Chapel. 


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