40. Allen (Boston). George Lincoln Prescott, ca. 1864. From a carte de visite (source undiscovered).
George Lincoln Prescott was born in Littleton, Massachusetts in 1829 to Timothy Prescott and his second wife Maria King Prescott. The family moved to Concord in 1833. George was the half brother of Martha Lawrence Prescott (later Mrs. John Shepard Keyes—see #20) and the brother of Abba Maria Wood Prescott (Mrs. George Merrick Brooks).
George Prescott lived an ordinary life before the Civil War. A dealer in lumber, building supplies, coal, and hay, he married Sarah Barker Edes in 1852. The first of their four children was born a year later. But the war turned an ordinary man into a model of service, leadership, and bravery. Prescott left family and business and became Concord's quintessential Civil War hero. Grindall Reynolds outlined his service record in an obituary for the Boston Daily Advertiser (July 18, 1864):
at the first call of government he left and in command of the company raised in the town which formed a part of the 5th Regiment, on the 19th of April, 1861, started for Washington. With his company and regiment he was in the battle of Bull Run.
... Returning from this three months' service he went back for a few weeks to his old business. But in November of the same year [he] raised a company which became a part of the battalion which garrisoned for a time Fort Warren, and was the nucleus of the present 32d Regt. In May, 1862, the regiment was transferred to Washington, and after the battles before Richmond to Harrison's Landing. Here Col. Prescott contracted a fever During his convalescence he was detailed to command the camp of stragglers at Alexandria which numbered often not less than six thousand wounded and sick men. The duties were arduous but though he was almost too sick for any service, he discharged those duties with kindness and fidelity. In October, 1862, he returned to his regiment with the rank of Lieut. Colonel, and was in the bloody repulse at Fredericksburg. On the retirement of Col. Parker he was promoted to the command and led his regiment with signal gallantry at Gettysburg and in the long train of engagements between the Wilderness and Petersburg. On the 18th of June he received before Petersburg a mortal wound, and on the following day died
Prescott's last child was born four months after his father's death.
This photograph captures George Lincoln Prescott's strength and ease with his own authority. It also shows a man who looks older than his thirty-plus years, suggesting the toll taken by sustained military responsibility.