George Bliss Sanford
From: Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography, Vol. III; P-Z Index by Dan L. Thrapp; pub. The Arthur H. Clark Co., Glendale, CA 1988; p. 1263-1264
George Bliss Sanford, army officer (June 28, 1842-July 13, 1908). Born at New Haven, Connecticut, Sanford was commissioned a second lieutenant of the 1st Dragoons (1st Cavalry) April 26, 1861, and a first lieutenant July 30; he became a captain October 1, 1862. His Civil record was creditable, Sanford emerging a brevet lieutenant colonel after arduous service with the Army of the Potomac. In December 1865 he went with his regiment to California and thence to Arizona, where he remained about five years, much of it in command of Fort McDowell. In September-October 1866 he led a scout and attack on an Indian rancheria, causing some causalities. June 3-4, 1869, he led a scout into the Pinal Mountains of Arizona, striking an Apache rancheria and killing about 20. He led other effective scouts December 10, 1869, and April 30 and May 25, 1870. In 1871 he moved with his company to California and from there to Idaho; he served briefly on detached duty at Sitka, Alaska. He was promoted to major June 25, 1876.
In 1877 Sanford and his regiment served under Howard in the Nez Perce campaign; Sanford was in command at the scarcely glorious action at Camas Meadows August 20, 1877, the troop losses being three killed or wounded mortally, an officer and four enlisted men wounded and most of the outfit's mules swept off by Indian raiders, none of whom, was hit. Sanford also participated in the pursuit of the Nez Perce through Yellowstone Park and northeast Montana, participating in the Battle of Canyon Creek, September 13. A year later he was involved in the pursuit of the Apache hostels, Juh and Geronimo. He reported that because of recurring malaria he had turned command over to Reuben Bernard who engaged the enemy in a sharp battle (Sanford's biographer mistakenly believed Sanford had commanded this action).
Sanford became lieutenant colonel of the 9th Cavalry in 1889. He commanded the Leavenworth Squadron, a mixture of troops from three cavalry regiments, in the Wounded Knee affair in 1890-91. Sanford became colonel of the 6th Cavalry in 1892. He retired July 28, 1892. He and his wife were at San Francisco during the April 18, 1906, earthquake and fire. He lived in retirement at Litchfield, Connecticut, and died at New York City.
[E. R. Hagemann, Fighting Rebels and Redskins: Experiences in Army Life of Colonel George B. Sanford, 1861-1892. Norman, University of Okla. Press, 1969; Heitman; Powell; Oliver Otis Howard Chief Joseph: His Pursuit and Capture. Bost 1 cc and Shephard Pubrs. 1881; Dan 1. Thrapp, General Crook and the Sierra Madre Adventure. Norman 1972].
Back to Main Menu
Back to Biography Selection