September 25, 1864: General George S. Patton Sr. Killed in Third Battle of Winchester


General George S. Patton was killed during the Third Battle of Winchester, Virginia, on September 25, 1864. In 1856, Patton, a Richmond lawyer, had moved to Charleston and founded the Kanawha Riflemen, a decidedly pro-Southern militia company.

After the Civil War began in April 1861, the Kanawha Riflemen began drilling for the Southern cause. In July, Union troops started moving up the Kanawha River, headed for Charleston. Patton, a 24-year-old major at the time, led the Riflemen in a victory over Union troops at the Battle of Scary Creek in Putnam County.

The Kanawha Riflemen were soon incorporated into the Confederate army as Company H of the Virginia 22nd Infantry. Despite suffering a severe shoulder wound at Scary Creek, Patton returned to lead Company H for the next three years, including at the 1863 Battle of White Sulphur Springs.

In 1864, George S. Patton was killed in the South’s ultimately losing effort to hold on to the Shenandoah Valley. His Civil War career inspired his grandson—another George S. Patton, who would become one of the great military strategists of World War II.