Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley (USA)

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George Foster Shepley

Birthplace: Saco, Maine, USA
Death: Died in Portland, Maine, USA
Place of Burial: Portland, ME, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Ether Shepley, U.S. Senator and Anne Shepley
Husband of Lucy Ann Shepley and Helen Shepley
Father of George H Shepley; Lucy H. Shepley; Ellen Shepley; Anne Hathaway Tiffany and George Foster Shepley, Jr.
Brother of John Rutledge Shepley; George H. Shepley and Leonard D Shepley

Occupation: Lawyer, Civil War general, 1st Military & 18th Governor of Louisiana, acting mayor of New Orleans, federal judge in Maine
Managed by: Private User
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About Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley (USA)

George Foster Shepley (January 1, 1819 – July 20, 1878) was a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was appointed military and 18th Governor of Louisiana by Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Butler in June 1862. (Butler was a very controversial political general. Wikipedia's article on him includes the statement that Butler's, "military career would be characterized by his eagerness to assume authority in the absence of official instructions. ... Most notorious was Butler's General Order No. 28 of May 15, issued after some provocation, that if any woman should insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and shall be held liable to be treated as a 'woman of the town plying her avocation', i.e., a prostitute. ... Several clergymen were placed under arrest for refusing to pray for President Lincoln. The Episcopal churches were closed, and their three ministers were sent to New York City under military escort." [] Butler, and not Shepley, was responsible for each of these actions.) Shepley later served as a United States federal judge.


   * 1 Education and early career
   * 2 Military career
   * 3 Post-war legal and judicial career
   * 4 See also
   * 5 References
   * 6 External links

Education and early career

Born in Saco, Maine, Shepley studied law at Harvard University, and then received an A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1837. He read law to enter the Bar in 1839, and was in private practice in Bangor, Maine from 1839 to 1844, and in Portland, Maine from 1844 to 1861. He was a U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine from 1848 to 1849 and from 1853 to 1861.

Military career

Shepley rose to the rank of Brigadier General serving in the Union Army from 1861 to 1865. He first served as the acting military mayor of New Orleans from May 20, 1862 – July 11, 1862. This appointment lasted less than two months before Shepley was appointed military governor of the occupied parishes of Louisiana from 1862–1864. Shepley later served as the first military governor of Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital.

Post-war legal and judicial career

After the war, Shepley returned to his private practice in Portland in 1865. He was a member of the Maine House of Representatives from 1866 to 1867, and continued in private practice until 1869. On December 8, 1869, Shepley was nominated by President Ulysses S. Grant to a new seat on the United States circuit court for the First Circuit created by 16 Stat. 44. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 22, 1869, and received his commission the same day. He continued in that office until his death.

He died in Portland, Maine, on July 20, 1878, and is interred at Evergreen Cemetery in that city. His tombstone has his birth date as January 1, 1819.[1]

See also Biography portal United States Army portal American Civil War portal

   * List of American Civil War generals


  1. ^ Appleton's Cyclopedia "George Foster Shepley"
   * State of Louisiana - Biography
   * Cemetery Memorial by La-Cemeteries
   * George Foster Shepley (Maine and Louisiana) at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.

Source: Downloaded April 2011 from

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George F. Shepley, son of the preceding [Ether Shepley, LL.D.], born at Saco, Maine, January 1, 1819; graduated at Dartmouth College in 1837, and at Dana Law School, Cambridge, 1839; admitted to the bar of the supreme judicial court, Bangor, Maine, 1840; in 1844 removed to Portland; was appointed U. S. attorney for Maine district in 1848, and reappointed in 1853 and 1857, subsequently devoting him exclusively to a very extensive and general practice of his profession, in the course of which he was called upon to argue several cases of great importance in the U. S. Supreme Court, until September, 1861, when he was commissioned colonel of the 12th Maine Volunteers; commanded a brigade in Gen. Butler's expedition against New Orleans, and on the occupation of that city was appointed military commandant and acting mayor, and assigned to the defenses of New Orleans, and charged with the administration of civil affairs in the city. Shortly after he was commissioned brigadier-general of Volunteers by President Lincoln, who appointed him military governor of Louisiana June 3, 1862. In 1864 he commanded the military district of Virginia and North Carolina; served with the army of the James 1864-65; entered Richmond with the 25th army corps April 3, 1865, and was appointed military governor of that city. . Resuming his profession at the close of the war, he declined the appointment of judge of the supreme court of Manie, but in 1869 accepted that of U. S. circuit judge for the first judicial circuit. His decisions are reported in Shepley's Circuit Court Reports.

Source: Johnson's New Universal Cyclopedia, 1878, New York: Alvin J. Johnson & Son, page 230.

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George F. Shepley, a native of Maine, befriended Benjamin Butler when they were both attending the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore. Shepley's relationship with Butler, the commander of the Department of the Gulf for the Union, brought him to Louisiana.

After the fall of New Orleans, Butler appointed Shepley commandant of New Orleans. In June, 1862, he was appointed Governor. Shepley presided over the civil government of those Louisiana parishes occupied by Federal troops. He acted as no more than a middle man who communicated the directives from Washington and received the requests of citizens' groups.

Shepley became Military Governor of Virginia after Richmond fell, but soon returned to Maine where he practiced law. He died in Portland in 1878.


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Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley (USA)'s Timeline

January 1, 1819
Saco, Maine, USA
April 12, 1845
Age 26
Age 27
April 29, 1850
Age 31
Portland, ME, USA
April 23, 1852
Age 33
Age 41
St Louis, MO, USA
July 20, 1878
Age 59
Portland, Maine, USA
Dane Law School