Private, Co. G, 9th Mich. Inf., Feb. 2, 1864 - Sept. 15, 1865
Private George W. Demarest of Girard, Michigan (b. Sept. 20, 1846 in Thunderbush, N.Y.) was the youngest of 3 brothers to serve in the United States Army during the American Civil War. His parents, William W. Demarest (b. 1813 d. 1894) and Lydia Steenburgh Demarest (b. 1822 - d. 1882) had moved to Michigan from Fulton County. N.Y. shortly before the Civil War. Like his two older brothers, Charles H. and Andrew J. Demarest, George was the grandson of Nicholas P. Demarest (b. 1787) and Jane Brouwer Demarest (b. 1791); he also was the nephew of Henry N. Demarest (b. 1827 - d. 1900) and Sarah Steenburgh Demarest (b. 1828 - d. 1903) of Tekonsha, Michigan, therefore being the first cousin of their son, James Henry Demarest (b. 1854 - d. 1928).
George W. Demarest was recruited by his older brother Andrew and enlisted as a Private in Company G, 9th Mich . Inf. in Coldwater, Michigan on Feb. 2, 1864 (see biography of Corp. Andrew J. Demarest ) and was mustered in on Feb. 10, 1864. George and his brother Andrew left Coldwater for duty at Chattanooga, Tennessee on Feb. 20, 1864.
Pvt. George Demarest was drilled and prepared for combat along with the other new recuits in the 9th Mich. Inf. during the months of March and April of 1864. His service records indicate that he was "Absent" and "Sick" in the general field hospital from May through October of 1864. He may have taken part in the early stages of the Atlanta campaign under General William T. Sherman, but this is not certain. A document from the Jefferson General Hospital in Jeffersonville , Indiana indicates that Pvt. George Demarest was transferred from the Cumberland Hospital to Jefferson General on Sept. 14, 1864 and was in Ward 14 - Bed 26. His diagnosis at the time was "Intermittent fever".
Pvt. Demarest was returned to the 9th Mich. Inf. in Chattanooga, Tennessee in November of 1864 and was apparently detailed to steamboat guard duty along the Tennessee River for the months of January and February of 1865. On March 27, 1865 he was sent to Nashville, Tennessee for Provost Guard duty under General Thomas. George was there with his older brother, Corp. Andrew J. Demarest, when they were both mustered-out on Sept. 15, 1865. Like his older brother Andrew, Pvt. George W. Demarest was also allowed to retain his Springfield rifle and accoutrements under General Order No. 101.
The 9th Mich. Inf. lost a total of 292 men during the Civil War - 20 died from combat-related causes and 272 died from disease. George W. and Andrew J. Demarest survived the war as did their older brother, Charles H. Demarest in the 19th Mich. Inf. Their uncle, John N. Demarest did not. (see biographies of Pvt. Charles H. Demarest and Pvt. John N. Demarest ). George W. Demarest died June 14, 1928 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is buried in the Soldiers and Sailors Cemetery there.
by Kenneth Elburn Byrd - Indianapolis, Indiana
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