George H. Thomas was born in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1816. Neither of the planter (plantation) class nor a true hardship case, Thomas went to West Point, where he graduated in 1840. He saw much service in the U.S. Regular Army in Mexico, against the Seminoles in Florida, and against the Comanches in Texas. When the Civil War began, Thomas was on leave from the army, in New York City. Virtually all of his relatives sided with the Confederacy, and his ties to his family of origin were severed by his decision to stay with the Union.
Union General George H. Thomas was a leading commander in the Western Theater and held off the Confederate forces at Murfreesboro.