A Hero of Chaplin River (Perrysville, Kentucky) and Stone River (Murfesboro Tennessee) -- Lieutenant George Washington O’Rear, C.S.A.

George Washington O’Rear of Barrett’s Missouri Battery, C.S.A. was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant for gallantry in action. His Commander in recommending his promotion said in part:

"He was present at the battle of Elkhorn in Ark. and as Chief of Piece in my Battery at the battles of Perryville, Ky. and Murfresboro, Tenn. behaved with distinguished gallantry, coolness and intelligence.

His conduct during the entire time he has been under my command (15 months) has been above reproach both in and out of Camp.

His moral qualities are only equaled by his gallantry and intelligence."

G.W. O’Rear was a Kentuckian. His great-niece Helen C. O’Rear of Kansas City, Missouri in 1947 wrote the following account of his life:

"George Washington O’Rear -- was the son of Thomas Calk Orear and Susette Genevieve Orear of Lexington, Kentucky. He was born in Lexington on the 14th of November 1840. He was a Civil War veteran, though of what rank we do not know. He prospected for gold in the rocky mountains of Colorado and in the sierra mountains of Northern California.

He was a great trial to his nieces and nephews as he would stay in the mountains just so long and then turn up at the home of some one of them here in Missouri. At one time he did find some gold in the Colorado mountains, but spent all he made, a considerable sum, on one trip to New York where he bought lavish gifts at Tiffany’s for many of his nieces and great nieces.

When Ed T. Orear, his nephew was Superintendant of Insurance of the State of Missouri, he gave him a job as examiner for the Insurance Department, which job he held for some time, but as always, without any warning he returned to the mountains. Many times the same thing would happen, some of the family would get him a job and thing he was settled only to receive a card or letter from him saying he could not put up with work and was back in the mountains. One time at our mother’s insistance her brother, George N. Orear, after much work and expense, got him in the Home for Civil War Veterans at Higginsville, Missouri, and the family drew a sigh of relief thinking he was settled there for life. How little they knew their Uncle George! In two weeks he turned up at our home the most outraged of men because ‘can you imagine it LaBelle they wanted me to peal potatoes.’ After that episode he went back to the Sierras near Downieville in Northern California and remained there the rest of his life. Our brother and brother-in-law visited him there in 1925 and said he was well and happy, still expecting to find that elusive pot of gold. That he failed to do, however, and died at Downieville the 7th of April 1927."

His battery was stationed above the railroad tunnel on Missionary Ridge and the marker put up by the National Park Service at this point bears his name. It is not far from where Marvin Kelly O’Rear lies today in Chattanooga, Tennessee.