George J. Shopp, 1833-1924

Civil War MOHGeorge Shopp

George Shopp, civil war veteran and a long time Yuma resident is buried in the Yuma Cemetery. Corporal Shopp is the only soldier with Yuma County, Colorado, connections awarded the Medal of Honor. Articles for this biography were contributed by the Yuma Museum.

Autobiographical Notes of My Life

Memoir by George J. Shopp (written about 1918)

I was born in the province of Alsace, France, in the village of Dorst, near Strasburg on September 8th, 1833. I came to the United States, alone, in the year 1852, in my 19th year.

I worked two years on a farm at five dollars a month, in Sullivan County, New York. The old man for whom I worked treated me amicably, but the old woman asserted more than her rights and wore the breeches.

From thence I drifted across the state line into Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Here in my 23rd year I married Miss Mary Adeline Fish and made my first business venture by buying 50 acres of timber land at $5 an acre. On this spot I built a log house and here we made our home, and three children were born to us between the years of 1856 and 1861.

On the 10th day of May 1861, I enlisted in the 6th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserves, which was subject to the call of the Government for service in the Civil War. The regiment was organized at Harrisburg the capital of the state.

After the First Bull Run battle we were hurried to Washington, and further organized as a part of the 3rd Division, 1st Army Corps, commanded by Gen. McCall.

We were engaged in all the battles known as the "7 Days Fight" on the Peninsula, under Gen. Geo. B. McClellan, May 31, 1862. Afterward we were transferred to the command of Gen. John Pope and participated in the Second Battle of Bull Run August 28th and 29th under Gen. Porter as our Corps Commander, and from there we marched to Maryland as a part of the Army advancing toward the battlefield of Antietam. In the preliminary battle at South Mountain I was wounded and removed to the hospital at Frederick City.

I rejoined my regiment in time for the battle of Fredericksburg. Our next engagement was at the battle of Chancellorsville and from there we moved to Arlington Heights. Our next movement, as a part of the Army of the Potomac, was toward Gettysburg. Gen. Warren was our Corps Commander in this famous engagement.

After Gettysburg a part of Mead's army assembled near City Point, where my own Division and Army Corps went into camp on Broad Run. At this camp, on the 12th day of February, 1864, I re-enlisted as a veteran, and received a furlough of 30 days, a bounty of $400, and free transportation home and return to the Army.

We engaged in all the battles in Virginia, under Gen. Grant, beginning at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. During the progress of the campaign towards Richmond I was detailed as orderly at Gen. Carr's bridge headquarters. One day during the progress of a battle, and while the minnie-balls were flying thick around us, our bridge was captured by the enemy; but I escaped capture myself, having previously been sent, along with the negro servant, and our Headquarters impedimenta, to the rear by Colonel Carr, with orders to remain where we could be found when wanted.

After parting with my command in this summary fashion, the stragglers, including myself, were bunched and placed under the command of a Lieutenant, and after our army crossed to the south side of the James River, while on picket duty one day, I was wounded the second time, in the leg, by a rebel sharpshooter, but not severely disabled.

At the battle of Five Forks, Gen. Sheridan in Command in the field, the forced marches to intercept the retreat of the remnant of Lee's army, created some confusion in our efforts to locate the lines of the enemy. At one point, one of our Divisions was led astray by a treacherous guide, and on getting out of close quarters in a dark night, the Major of our Regiment, turned to the guide and drawing his revolver said, "you D--d rebel S-- of a B--, you will not lead another army astray" and shot him dead.

On another afternoon we got into close contact with the enemy. We had gained the rear of a line of rebel field works when I and a dismounted Federal Cavalryman saw a rebel Color-bearer with his flag in his hand, and we made for him, each trying to get ahead of the other. I approached from behind and snatched the flag from the bearers hand. At this moment a rebel officer cried out, "Shoot those two Yankee sons of b--.," and my cavalry comrade fell pierced by seven balls. I had a narrow escape. I stood a few steps back, and a strong wind blew the flag across my face shielding me in a measure as a mark. As that rebel officer gave his order to his men to fire, I killed him with my own rifle. Colonel Pettit of the Pennsylvania "Bucktails" rode up to me, and congratulated me for the work I had done, and sent me to the rear for the night. This brave officer sent my name to the Secretary of War for honorable mention for special bravery, and for promotion. On this recommendation Congress awarded me the Medal of Honor and the Secretary of War issued a commission in the Regular Army. He also issued an order providing for my entrance to the training school for that purpose on the condition I would consent.

The New York Times gave an editorial resume of this incident in my army service. This fight opened the gate to Richmond, which was evacuated that night. And so we followed up Gen. Lee; He and his army on one side of the Appomattox river and our forces on the other.

We were close to the rebel General Gordon, when he approached our lines with the white flag of surrender.

I returned home July 7, 1865, and when some of my comrades loitered and squandered their money, I went to work at $1.50 a day. I lived on the farm five years.

The Lord blessed us with three more children, and I worked in the lumber woods for many years, made a good living, and equipped myself with good teams and all the necessary apparatus for doing lumber work.

I came west in May 1885 and lost my eldest daughter by typhoid fever. She left a child behind two years and a half old for me to raise. This child's name is Charles Griffin.

I came to Yuma, Colorado in 1890. My daughter, Ethel G., died in Fort Morgan, Colorado. My oldest boy died in Oregon. The greatest loss of all occurred in the death of my wife, Adeline, at Yuma, on Aug. 12, 1906. And, blessed be God, my home was not broken up, for our Father will always remember and care for his children.

I am now in my 84th year and my Dear Daughter Nellie takes the best care of me and my home. I will add here at the close of these Recollections, that it was something of an adventure for me to leave my little family for the Military Service; but my love of liberty impelled me to fight for the preservation of the Union of these States, my beloved adopted country.

And now I commend my children to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us, to the only wise God our Savour, to who be Glory and Honor and Majesty and Power, now and ever more. Amen.

Medal of Honor Certificate No: 333

Issued Under the Provisions of the Act of Congress Approved April 27, 1916.

To whom it may concern:

This is to certify, that George J. Shopp was enrolled on the thirteenth day of May, 1861, to serve three years. Was reenlisted February 13, 1864, for an additional three years, and was discharged on the twenty-eighth day of June, 1865, by reason of muster out of company, while holding the grade of Corporal in Company E, One Hundred Ninety First Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, to which he transferred from Company C, 6th Regiment, Pen Reserve Infantry.

That a medal of honor was awarded to him on the twenty-seventh day of April, 1865, for distinguished gallantry in the action of Five Forks, April 1, 1865, on the capture of a confederate flag.

That his name was entered and recorded on the Army and Navy Medal of Honor Roll on the thirty-first day of March, 1917 as authorized under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved April 27, 1916, and that he is entitled to receive the special pension granted by that act.

Given at the War Department, Washington, D.C. this fourth day of April, 1917
By authority of the Secretary of War:

The Adjutant General

George J. Shopp Obituary
The Yuma Pioneer - Thursday March 20, 1924

Aged Civil War Veteran Dies in Denver Friday

Taps sounded for George J. Shopp, a former resident of Yuma, and the funeral was held Tuesday.

George J. Shopp was born in the Province of Alsace, France, in the village of Dorst, on September 8, 1833 and died March 14, 1924 in Denver, Colorado at the age of 90 years, 6 months and 6 days.

At the age of 19 Mr. Shopp came to the United States alone and worked for a farmer in Sullivan County, New York for the sum of $5 per month. On leaving New York state he located in Pennsylvania, where he made his first business deal by purchasing 50 acres of timber land for $5.00 per acre. On this spot he built his home. In 1856 he was united in holy wedlock to Miss Mary A. Fisk. To this union, six children were born.

On the 10th day of May 1861 he enlisted in the 6th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserves. This regiment was organized at Harrisburg, the capital of the state, and was soon called to the front by the government to fight the battle with other troops at Bull Run. After this battle, the regiment was further organized as part of the 3rd Division, 1st Army Corps, commanded by General McCall. During the bloody war waged between the North and South Mr. Shopp fought for the Stars and Stripes in most all the great battles that took place and was considered by all his officers and comrades to be one of the bravest among the brave. He was honored by one of his generals with the Medal of Bravery during the Great Civil War. He returned to his home and family again July 7, 1865.

In 1885 he moved his family to the west and in 1890 he moved to Yuma where he lived until about seven years ago when he moved to Denver.

The body was brought down to this city Monday afternoon and funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at the Methodist Church, the building of which he worked so hard for in the early years of the present century. He joined the Yuma Methodist Church about 1890, was a member of the official board for many years, and was an officer when the present building was erected in 1911.

Rev. Joseph Antle, the present pastor, officiated at the funeral which was attended by as many of the people of Yuma as could find seats in the edifice. The business houses of the city were closed in his memory. The body was laid to rest in the Yuma Cemetery with all military honors provided by the American Legion, some of whom are probably the grandsons of the Veterans of the Civil War. Daddy Shopp, as everyone loved to call him, was about the last of the members of the GAR Post to pass away. For many years, no matter how far away he chanced to be each year, he returned to Yuma to take part in the Memorial Day exercises.

The departed is preceded by one son, two daughters, and his loving wife. His wife, who stood by his side for many years, departed while the family lived in Yuma on August 12, 1906.

God, through his loving kindness, permitted our departed brother to live many years, all of which were appreciated by him, and he did all he could during his stay here to make his life useful, and to accomplish all that mortal could for his country and his family. Besides his children and near relatives, he leaves a host of friends to mourn his loss.

Note that there are disconnects between the Pioneer obit and what George Shopp had written six years earlier.

Return to the Yuma Cemetery listing.

Return to the on-line data page.