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Confederate Veteran Biographies

sugarfoot has submitted 33 biographies and got 4 comments. The last biography was submitted on 06/26/07

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George W. Law

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Posted: Date Wednesday, May 16th 2007, 4:36 PM Icon 7659 Date 0

1828 - 1873
1st. Mo. Cavalry

George W. Law, the son of John W. and Mary B. (Ferguson) Law was born in 1828 in Franklin County, Virginia and migrated to Callaway County, Missouri at a young age. He became a successful and well liked farmer from Reform, Missouri.

He was 32 years old in the spring and summer of 1861 when war came to Missouri. The first company was raised there after the fall of Ft. Sumter in April of 1861. They left so quickly they ended up serving in a different division, the 3rd division of the Missouri State Guards under John Q. Burbridge. John’s company was over one-half German immigrants from southeastern Callaway and southwestern Montgomery counties.

Law’s Co. (Co. C, Milton’s Battalion) served with honor throughout the summer. In September, all nine of these Callaway County companies fought together at Lexington. In Brig. Gen. Thomas Harris’s report to Sterling Price, after the battle, Harris specifically commends the troops from Callaway County. Robinson’s Battalion is credited with starting the use of hemp bales as moveable breastworks and Milton’s Battalion, containing Law’s company, with the recapture of the hospital that Mulligan’s troops were using as a sniper’s nest.

Law’s Company stayed with Price’s Army after the battle, and retreated with them into north Arkansas for the winter. In December many of these MSG troops were mustered into Confederate service. Around this time ten companies were formed and perfected into the 1st Missouri Cavalry, on December 30th, with Elijah Gates elected their Commander. Co. B selected George W. Law as their captain.

During the Battle at Big Black River, George received a bullet wound to his left arm which necessitated the removal of the limb. Elijah Gates and the remaining men of the 1st Missouri Cavalry were captured but Gates managed to escape later and rejoined his troops after the fall of Vicksburg.

Law spent the time during the fall of Vicksburg recuperating from the effects of his wound. He was appointed Post Commandant at Meridian, Mississippi and served until the general surrender in 1865. Both Gates and Law returned home to Missouri to resume their lives as farmers.

Elijah Gates and George Law had a lot of things in common. They were around the same age, both farmers, both Captains in the Missouri State Guard. Both were promoted up through the ranks and served with honor and devotion in the line of duty. Both lost their left arm in the war and both returned home and were highly respected in their home counties. They have one more thing in common. Gates and Law were both elected Sheriff of their respective county’s, Gates in Buchanan County and Law in Callaway County.

Gates went on to serve many years as Sheriff, and then Treasurer of the State of Missouri and ended his career as a United States Marshall. George W. Law was not as fortunate.

During a mob scene at the Fulton County Courthouse while trying to protect a prisoner, George Law and his deputy were mortally wounded. Elijah Gates was immediately summoned and arrived at his friend’s side shortly before he died.

Gates leaned over his dying friend, so wanting his friend to know that he was there. In a soft and tender voice Gates asked, “Do you know who this is?” Law stirred from his semi-conscious state and replied in a weak, but clear voice, “I would know that voice anywhere.” The two men embraced and Law lapsed back into unconsciousness clasping the hand of his friend. Later that evening George Law died.

Gates led the funeral procession the next day out of Fulton to Law’s family cemetery on the farm south of Reform. There, under a huge oak tree, next to his wife Amanda and among eight of his eleven children, George W. Law was laid to rest by his friends.

George Law received the headstone he so justly deserved from the men of the Elijah Gates Camp of the SCV in 1998. It reads:

Lt. Col. George W. Law
1st Mo. Cav
CSA
1828 – August 23, 1873

and the reverse has at the top a sheriff’s star with the simple inscription,
Sheriff
Callaway County
Killed in the line of Duty.

It has often been said that you measure a man by his friends. George Law was mourned not only by his friends in the Kingdom of Callaway and the State of Missouri, but, throughout the Confederacy.

The above is an excerpt of an address given to the SCV Central Missouri Brigade, Summer Muster, Fulton, Mo. On June 18, 1998 by Mark K. Douglas, Elijah Gates Camp Historian. Courtesy of Don Ernst, Adjutant.

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