This sixteen-foot-high equestrian statue honors Major General George Henry Thomas, a US Army officer who gained fame during the Civil War as the “Rock of Chickamauga.” The statue was a gift of the Society of the Army of the Cumberland. The Society chose John Quincy Adams Ward (1830-1910) to sculpt the statue, cast in captured bronze confederate cannons.
General Thomas is depicted observing the field of battle having just arrived on the crest of a hill. The general and his horse stand upon an oval granite pedestal which features four elaborate Baroque scrolls and a bronze casting of the badge of the Army of the Cumberland, partly surrounded by a laurel wreath.
This memorial stands in the center of Thomas Circle, a traffic circle located at the intersection of Fourteenth Street, M Street, Massachusetts Avenue, and Vermont Avenue NW. The statue was dedicated on November 19, 1879 in a ceremony attended by some 50,000 people. Prominent guests included President Rutherford B. Hayes, Generals Irvin McDowell, Philip Sheridan, and William Tecumseh Sherman. Harper’s Weekly described the unveiling as one of the grandest ceremonies ever held in the city.
Part of Civil War Monuments
DC Inventory: March 3, 1979
National Register: September 20, 1978