George Murray was born on July 21, 1844 in Philadelphia and originally worked as a carpenter until enlisting at the age of 18 in August 1862 as a member of the 114th Pennsylvania Zouaves de Afrique Company B regiment under Colonel Charles H. T. Collis for the Union Army. Murray served during the majority of the Civil War and wrote many letters to his parents while enlisted. The collection of Murray's letters on this website provide a unique historical view of the Civil War through a soldier's perspective.
Military career and battles:
Murray fought in the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 before being seriously wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863 when a bullet pierced his chest, shattering his right clavicle and damaging his left lung. He was treated at Harewood, an army hospital, but was primarily nursed back to health by his mother who stayed with him for the majority of his recovery time. The uniform included in this collection (see image gallery below) has a patched bullet hole on the right shoulder, which Murray's mother repaired, and is still visible today. After his recovery, Murray was assigned to the Veterans Reserve Corps where he held a position on the Steamer Connecticut. In August 1864 he was officially restored to active duty with his regiment and served with the headquarters guard of the Army of the Potomac around Petersburg.
Murray mustered out (was honorably discharged) at the end of the war in Arlington, Virginia in May 1865. After the war, Murray took up residence in Hainesport, New Jersey from 1867 to 1896 before moving back to Philadelphia for the remainder of his life. He passed away there on January 24, 1910 at the age of 65 and is buried in Mount Holly, New Jersey.
Above is an image of George Murray in his uniform. In his letter written on September 6, 1862 (click here), he asked his mother and father if they had received his likeness. It is possible, though not confirmed, that this image is the one Murray mentioned. This picture accompanies the display of Murray's uniform and bible at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center.
Above is a copy of a Carl Rochling painting, which features the 114th PA Infantry Regiment Company B, which Murray was a part of, in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Colonel Collis, the commander of the 114th PA, is seen leading his men bravely into battle, and he won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions. After the Civil War ended, Collis had Rochling create this painting. The National Park Service later acquired a photographic copy, which is located next to Murray's uniform display at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center.
Sources for Information and Images Above:
"George Murray." National Park Service documents. Click here
“Murray’s War Letters.” National Park Service documents. Click here
"Private George Murray." On display at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center. Photo credit: Kathleen MacIndoe
Rochling, Carl. "114th PA Regiment in the Battle of Fredericksburg." On display at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center. Photo credit: Kathleen MacIndoe
"The 114th PA Zouaves at Chancellorsville." National Park Service documents. Click here
An interactive journey through Murray's letters
For a full list of citations for the StoryMap, click here