Top 15 Posts of 2013—Number 14: Gettysburg Off the Beaten Path: Private George Washington Sandoe

George Washington Sandoe was a local of the Gettysburg area, hailing from Mount Joy. Sandoe has the unenviable title of being the first Union soldier killed in Gettysburg.

George and Diana Sandoe

George and Diana Sandoe

Sandoe was part of Captain Robert Bell’s Independent Company of Cavalry (later known as Company B, 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry). The twenty year old had mustered into the unit just three days earlier. When the unit made its way from Marsh Creek, near 3 PM June 26, Bell’s company was hotly pursued by Lt. Col. Elijah V. White’s 35th Virginia Battalion of Cavalry. As the Union horsemen made their way into the town, Bell gave the order that it was every man for himself.

Sandoe, with William Lightner, another local man turned soldier, made their way for the Baltimore Pike. The pair came across William’s cousin, Daniel. The men discussed what had happened along the Chambersburg Pike and discussed what they should do next, when a squad of White’s Virginians pounced on the trio. Sandoe drew his revolver and fired as the three men rode like hell to get away. In front was a fence. William spurred his horse and leapt over; George attempted to do the same, but his horse refused the jump. It was all up for Sandoe. One of the Confederate’s leveled his gun and fired, killing Sandoe and taking his horse.

James McAllister, whose home Sandoe was killed in front of, removed the body from the field. He was interred in the cemetery at Mount Joy Lutheran Church.

21st PA Monument (Picture from Stone Sentinals)

21st PA Monument (Picture from Stone Sentinals)

Two monuments were placed to the 21st Pennsylvania Cavalry and the death site of George Washington Sandoe.

From the square, make your way south down Baltimore Street. When you reach the Y intersection, bear left onto the Baltimore Pike. You will pass the visitor center on your right. Just past the visitor center intersection will be the entrance to Culp’s Hill; the monuments are both just south of the entrance, Colgrove Avenue, on the left. Total distance is 1.7 miles from the square to the monuments. (The monuments sit on public lands.)

The larger monument was dedicated on October 5, 1893; the second monument, about 30 yards from the larger monument, was dedicated on October 14, 1894.

21st PaMap

Mount Joy Church

Mount Joy Lutheran Church

The author at George's Grave in the winter of 2008.

The author at George’s Grave in the winter of 2008.

21st Pa Monument 3

About Kristopher D White

Civil War historian.
This entry was posted in Battlefields & Historic Places and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Top 15 Posts of 2013—Number 14: Gettysburg Off the Beaten Path: Private George Washington Sandoe

  1. J. David Petruzzi says:

    One little correction – Sandoe was never a member of the 21st PA Cavalry, only Bell’s Adams County Cavalry Company. It was after Sandoe’s death, and after the battle of Gettysburg – in October 1863 IIRC – that Bell’s militia cavalry became Co. B of the newly-formed 21st PA. Of course, the regiment’s veterans claimed him as their own since most of the company had come from Bell’s Cavalry. But Sandoe was never a member of that regiment since it didn’t form until several months after his death.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s