George Maney

on June 24, 2013 in American Civil War, People and Biographies

George Maney was about as Middle Tennessee as “Mother Earth” got. Born in Franklin in 1826 to a judge and newspaper editor, he attended Nashville Seminary and graduated from the University of Nashville. When the Mexican War began, Maney volunteered and became a lieutenant in the 1st Tennessee Infantry. Moving over the U.S. Army service in the 3rd Dragoons, Maney went to Mexico City with General Scott.

After the war, Maney went home, passed the bar, and became a lawyer in his native Franklin. He was quite successful in his chosen profession, and served in the state legislature. Maney also married and started a family.

Civil War Service
With Tennessee’s secession, Maney volunteered again, this time starting as a captain in the 11th Tennessee Infantry. Like many prominent men with Mexican War experience, he quickly rose in the ranks, becoming colonel of the 1st Tennessee Infantry in May 1861.

It was in this role as regimental commander that Maney first came to interest me, because that summer Maney’s regiment became part of Anderson’s Brigade in the division-sized mini-army of W.W. Loring. As such, Maney fought at Cheat Mountain under Robert E. Lee and in Stonewall Jackson’s Romney expedition. The Tennessean was one of the very few senior officers in Loring’s command that did not participate in “Scared Turkey’s” insubordinate end-run around Jackson with the War Department. Maney seems to have had a wise sensibility for avoiding such controversies, and his historical choice to not cross Jackson in the winter of 1861 became an important footnote in my story.

With Tennessee under threat, Maney wanted to return to his native state, and the fallout from Loring’s little conspiracy provided the opportunity to send him there. Loring’s division, the so-called Army of the Northwest, was broken up and Loring reassigned. Maney and his regiment were sent back to Tennessee, where they fought at Shiloh. Maney was elevated to Brigadier General in April 1862, a rank he held for the remainder of the war.

Maney led his brigade at Perryville, Stones River, and Chickamauga, his command becoming the bedrock of Cheatham’s Tennessee Division. He was wounded in November 1863 at Chattanooga, and returned to duty in time for the Atlanta Campaign.

George Maney in Stonewall Goes West
Although he is a minor character in the story, George Maney’s record influenced several of the choices I made in plotting out the alternate history that is the Stonewall Goes West trilogy. Since I was sending Stonewall Jackson westward, and my intention was to write an alternate history that could stand as a work of proper historical fiction, I needed to find those western Confederates who already had some relationship, positive or negative, with Jackson. Maney’s conspicuous lack of involvement in the Romney Affair made him a prime candidate.

I also needed to choose a regiment and brigade to serve as a home for my fictional infantrymen, Captain Fletcher and the Grimes Brothers. Putting them in Maney’s Brigade allowed me to put more attention on Maney with a minimum of fuss.

By the spring of 1864, George Maney was among the most senior brigadiers in the Army of Tennessee, and had a good combat record to his name. He was also one of the few brigadiers in the Army of Tennessee who avoided being tarred as an anti-Bragg man, while still retaining a good relationship with the key figures in the anti-Bragg conspiracy. Cheatham liked him, and Hardee thought highly enough of Maney to put his name forward for division command during the Atlanta Campaign.

In my story, things go a little differently. When Cheatham is incapacitated at the Battle of Lawrenceburg, George Maney steps into the gap as the division’s senior brigadier, ably leading the Tennessee Division through the second half of the battle and in the pursuit to Franklin. In addition to his aforementioned merits, Jackson also remembers Maney as one of the few reliable, obedient colonels from Loring’s command during the Romney Affair. I don’t mind giving out a sneak peek at Mother Earth, Bloody Ground by revealing that George Maney gets his well-deserved promotion to major general, and in an ironic twist takes over as commander of Loring’s Division.

Later in the War and Postbellum
Switching back to real history, Maney’s promotion was rejected, and he served as a brigadier until the end of the war. He later became President of the Tennessee and Pacific Railroad, and in a move that must have miffed more than a few of his fellow Confederates, joined the Republican Party. He was highly influential in the Reconstruction era, and used that influence to restore civil rights to old Confederates and to work on effecting a general reconciliation. His daughter Francis actually married an officer from the 15th Massachusetts Infantry. Maney also served as a U.S. Ambassador to various South American countries in the 1880s and 1890s, all under Republican presidents.

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