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Assistant surgeon (captain-equivalent); earlier was a cavalryman, a regimental staff non-commissioned officer, and a lieutenant and aide-de-camp "Henry" Caperton was born on 13 Dec 1828 [also reported as 1824 and 1829 in genealogical materials] at "Elmwood," in Union, Monroe County, [West] Virginia. He matriculated into VMI at age 18, somewhat older than the average new cadet of his day, on 23 Jul 1847 with the Class of 1851. At the end of his first year he stood 2nd (distinguished) of an original class of 44. He subsequently struggled with mathematics and scientific subjects, however, resulting in lower academic standings during his subsequent years -- he stood 6th in 1849; 22nd in 1850; and he graduated 20th of 29 in 1851. Caperton's academic troubles were quite specific: he stood 1st in his class in French, 2nd in drawing, but 28th in mathematics. He was a cadet corporal during his second class year, and accumulated 164 demerits (6th from the worst in his class) during his cadetship. Col. T. T. Munford 1852, later Caperton's regimental superior, wrote of him during their cadet days: ...Henry Caperton I knew quite intimately the first year of my cadetship. I sat next to him at the mess table, though he was a first and a second classman. The mess table is the best schooling for young soldiers, but as he was a gentleman, I think very little else is necessary to be said. He was small in stature, like the first Napoleon and his sobriquet (with us) was the "Little Corporal." He was amiable but quite sensitive about his height and was ready to assert his [illegible two words] if it was intimated that he was in any way short. He was known to be fearless and as generous as he was brave... After graduating from VMI, he pursued medical studies, graduating from the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [also reported by a relative in 1918 as the University of Pennsylvania], reportedly in 1854. Caperton then married Mary Elizabeth Henderson of Lynchburg, Virginia, in that city on 23 Aug 1854; they had five children. They farmed, raising milking cows, and tending orchards at "Ivy Ledge," near Lynchburg. Presumably, he also practiced medicine before the war. [See below.] At the beginning of the war, Caperton enlisted for one year as a private in Company "G," 2nd Virginia Cavalry Regiment (originally the 30th Virginia Mounted Infantry), at Forest Depot, Virginia, on 28 May 1861. On 19 Jun 1861, he was appointed regimental quartermaster sergeant of the regiment, and Munford later commended his gallantry at 1st Manassas/Bull Run (21 Jul 1861). However, Caperton suffered ill health during his enlistment -- he was absent sick at home from a near-fatal case of measles (Sep-Oct 1861) and from severe typhoid fever in late 1861 to early 1862. He was medically discharged from Lynchburg Hospital on 12 Mar 1862, described at the time as standing five feet-six inches tall, with blond complexion and light hair and blue eyes. On 11 Jun 1862, at the request of his brother-in-law, Brig. Gen. J. Echols Ex-1843/HG, Caperton was assigned to the general's staff as a first lieutenant and aide-de-camp. George Henry Caperton (1828-1895) is listed as a lieutenant and an aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. John Echols [Ex-1843/HG] in R. E. L. Krick's Staff Officers in Gray [non-Army of Northern Virginia roster]. On 2 Mar 1863, he was appointed assistant surgeon (captain-equivalent), and 16 days later he was assigned to the medical director of the Department of Southwest Virginia. He spent the remainder of the war (28 Mar 1863-at least 22 Jan 1864) as an assistant surgeon at the Montgomery White Sulphur Springs, [West] Virginia, Hospital, and as a member of an examining board after 1 Jun 1864. Caperton was reported at home in Union, Monroe County, on 29 Mar 1865, the last known wartime muster data. After the war, Caperton practiced medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. He may have moved to Amherst County, Virginia (near Lynchburg) as he is listed on 1888 listing of "Principal Farmers" in Chataigne's Business Directory for Amherst County, Virginia (1888-1889): Amherst C.H.--T. V. Richeson, James W. Burley, Joel H. Campbell, S. R. Harding, A. W. Williams, James Harrison, Seaton Stinnett, W. H. Kent, John H. Watts, C. J. Higginbotham, Albert C. Harrison, S. M. Hudson, B. J. Rucker, George H. Harrison, Mrs. E. F. Mosby, M. B. Coffey…Cool Well--P. St. George Ambler, George H. Caperton, Jesse E. Adams, A. D. Watts, Leroy Willmore, Samuel H. McKenney, Eugene McIvor, John J. Ambler, Ed B. Ambler… [Emphasis added.] He died on 13 Jan 1895 at Fire Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia. According to the 2nd Virginia Cavalry regimental history, Caperton was buried in Green Hill Cemetery, Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. Two of his nephews, Hugh Caperton Ex-1861 and Allen Caperton Ex-1867, and another relative, John Caperton Ex-1864, attended VMI. Two other nephews, Hugh Caperton Preston 1877 and William Bullard Preston 1879, both Spanish-American War veterans, attended VMI. In Sep 1918, his daughter, Jane Elizabeth, wrote: ...He was a very modest retiring, & one had to know him to realize the loveliness of his character. He spent his life trying to relieve the sufferings of white & colored & one of my dearest recollections of him was walking away from his home with a red rose in his hand for some sick child, & it is a blessed thing to go back to our old home in Virginia & see how his memory is still green in the heart of the people... Genealogical materials on the Internet provide an interesting retrospective and additional information

 

Source:Albert Z. Conner