Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Photos from the Past

George Hooker

George Hooker was born August 8, 1844 in Trier, Germany. He arrived in the United States with his family when he was two years old. He first tried to join the Army to fight for the Union when he was 17, in 1861. His father, a 47-year-old widowed Catholic immigrant, went after him and dragged him home because George was underage. The next time he tried to enlist, he was too old for his father to stop him. Consequently, on November 29, 1864, he enlisted in Lafayette, Indiana as a Private in the 12th Battery, Indiana Light Artillery.

Along with the other new recruits, the Army sent George to Nashville, Tennessee the day after he enlisted. The first day George arrived in Nashville, he and the other recruits stood all day in the cold November rain as they awaited transport. He spent his first night in Nashville sleeping on the 4th floor of a building with no heat and with wet blankets covering his wet wool uniform. He saw his first action on Thursday, December 15, 1864 during the Battle of Nashville. The battle lasted two days. Although sick, George manned his field piece during the entire battle.

On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was assassinated. George was assigned to one of several artillery pieces from the battery ordered to fire repeatedly throughout that day, in honor of Lincoln. George would later say that it was that day he went deaf.

George was honorably discharged on July 7, 1865 in Indianapolis, Indiana. By the time he was discharged, he had suffered a significant loss of hearing. Thirty years later, a man wrote of George, I knew him as a boy. After he came back from the war, he was never less than 50 percent disabled. The military initially attempted to deny his disability pension on the grounds that it was not proven that firing canons could cause hearing loss. Some physicians testified that they believed such could be the cause of his deafness, but there was no "scientific proof" that close proximity to repeated loud canon fire could cause deafness. Eventually, after several years of appeal, the military decided that his deafness was related to his having fired canons during his military service and he was granted his pension based on his disability.

After the war, he worked initially as a brick maker, and then for many years as a logger. He married and had nine children:

George Hooker died on May 3, 1921 in Carroll County, Indiana. Photograph and information submitted by George Hooker’s great great granddaughter, Alice Marie Beard.


George Hooker

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