George H. Nye
April 20, 1861
George Henry Nye was 32 years old, married, and earning $5 per day to work at a mill in Lewiston when President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers in April, 1861, to join an army and fight for the United States.
Nye enlisted in the 1st Maine Infantry Regiment. With the rank of private, Nye’s pay dropped to $11 per month. He did not remain a private long. By the end of his first enlistment, Nye is a 2nd Lieutenant.
Mustered out of the Army, Nye re-enlists and recruits a number of his friends and associates to join him. Together, they enter the 10th Maine Infantry Regiment in October, and Nye is promoted to captain.
His regiment participates in the battles at Rappahannock, Sulphur Springs, Cedar Mountain, and Antietam.
When his two-year commitment expires, Nye is mustered out again.
Less than a month later, he re-enlists, this time in the 29th Maine Infantry Regiment, and he is soon promoted to major. He and his regiment see action in the battles of Sabine Cross Roads, Cane River Crossing, and Cedar Creek.
By the end of 1864, Nye is now a colonel, and early in 1865, he is promoted to brigadier general.
When at last he is mustered out of the Army for the final time, in 1866, Nye has attained the rank of Major General.
He is believed to be the only soldier in the Civil War to enter military service as a private and rise to the rank of major general.
After the war he returns briefly to Maine, then makes his business fortune in Maryland and Massachusetts.
- What would motivate someone to return to war?