October 1: George C. Gibson (1861)

From 1816-1818, Congress authorized two Quartermaster Generals, one for the each of the military Divisions that the United States was then divided.  Colonel George Gibson served as Quartermaster General of the Southern Division.  This was the only time in the history of the Quartermaster Corps that such an arrangement has existed. Gibson was born at Westover Mills, Pennsylvania on September 1, 1775.  He came from a family of soldiers. When Congress authorized an increase in the size of the Army, Gibson enlisted as a Captain in the 5th Infantry Regiment. Winfield Scott, who years later became commander-in-chief of the Army, was commissioned the same day as a Captain of light artillery, and their association developed into a warm friendship which lasted more than half a century.

The major activity of Gibson’s term as Quartermaster General came during his final four months in office when he was called upon to supply the campaign against the Seminole Indians in West Florida. When the Quartermaster Department was reorganized, Gibson was appointed to the newly created office of Commissary General of Subsistence. It was a position he occupied for forty-three years, during which time he introduced many reforms in the system of feeding the troops and greatly reduced the costs. Gibson’s span of life covered the period from the beginning of the Revolution to the start of the Civil War. At the time of his death, he was the oldest officer in the Army, being several years older than his close friend, General Scott, who survived him. President Lincoln was one of the first to call at General Gibson’s home and “spoke feelingly” of the veteran soldier. The President, members of his cabinet, Generals George B. McClellan and Winfield Scott, and many other notables of the day attended the elaborate military funeral with which Gibson was honored. Epiphany’s rector, the Rev. Charles H. Hall, conducted the service. Burial was in the Congressional Cemetery.

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