"...the great wrong I was committing."
George W. Cassell, a resident of central Kentucky, enlisted as a sergeant in the Confederate States Army on September 10th, 1862 in Lexington. his rank given most likely since he was twenty-nine years old at the time of enlistment, and older men typically served as non-commissioned officers, it being thought that their life experiences would make them more suitable leaders. Cassell, standing six feet in height with black hair and brown eyes, having been married since 1856 and with three children at home, was caught up in the fervor of the Kentucky Campaign. Serving in Company B of Roy Cluke's Eighth Kentucky Cavalry (C. S. A.) Cassell would be captured either on July 20th and processed at Buffington Island (Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky) or captured at the end of the raid at Salineville on July 26th (Compiled Military Service Record). Regardless of where he was captured during the Great Raid, Cassell would be sent to Camp Chase near Columbus, then transferred to Camp Douglas near Chicago, Illinois in August, 1863, where he would be held until released on March 24th or June 15th, 1865 (records mention both dates).
Cassell, according to his Compiled Military Service Record, claimed "to have been loyal. Enlisted through false representations. Was captured & desires to take the oath of allegiance to the U. S. & become a loyal citizen." Two years of prison life might cause a man to claim "false representations," or maybe he simply wanted to see his family (another child had been born in early 1863). Regardless of the reason, included in the CMSR was Cassell's application to take the oath of allegiance, written to Lieutenant Joel A. Fife:
Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill.
January the 6th, 1865
I, George Cassell, a Sergeant of Co. B 8th Kentucky Cavalry, would most respectfully represent, that I was Enlisted in the Rebel Service on the 10th September, 1862, at Lexington, Kentucky; at the time of my Enlistment the greatest excitement prevailed throughout the country, and like so many misguided men I drifted into this Rebellion without being aware of the great wrong I was committing.
I would further represent, that I was Captured at Salineville, Ohio, on the 26th July, 1863, by General Hobbson's [sic] Command; and further, I do not desire to be returned South in Exchange, but, respectfully, ask that permission be granted me to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, and again enjoy the Priveliges [sic] of an American Citizen. I am Sir,
Sergeant Co. B, 8th Kentucky Cav.
Cassell would return to central Kentucky, sire four additional children, and live out his days as a farmer in the East Hickman District of Fayette County, Kentucky. He would pass away on August 17th, 1884, and is buried in idyllic Lexington Cemetery.