George Gillespie, Jr., was born October 7, 1841, in Kingston, Tennessee. He graduated second in the class of 1862 at the United States Military Academy and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. Another Southerner who remained loyal to the Union, Gillespie joined the Army of the Potomac in September 1862. He commanded two companies of the engineer battalion which built fortifications and ponton bridges throughout the Virginia campaigns until the Appomattox surrender. He received the Medal of Honor for carrying dispatches through enemy lines under withering fire to General Sheridan at Cold Harbor, Virginia. He was later Sheridan's Chief Engineer in the Army of the Shenandoah and the Military Division of the Gulf. After the Civil War Gillespie successively supervised the improvement of harbors at Cleveland, Chicago, Boston, and New York. He initiated construction of the canal at the Cascades of the Columbia River and built the famous lighthouse on Tillamook Rock off the Oregon coast. Gillespie also served on the Board of Engineers and for six years as president of the Mississippi River Commission. He commanded the Army's Department of the East in 1898. While Chief of Engineers, he was acting Secretary of War in August 1901. He had charge of ceremonies at President McKinley's funeral and at the laying of the cornerstone of the War College Building in 1903. He served as Army Assistant Chief of Staff in 1904-05 with the rank of major general. General Gillespie retired June 15 1905, and died September 27, 1913, in Saratoga Springs, New York.