George Redfield Spalding – Brigadier General, United States Army


George Redfield Spalding was born in Monroe, Michigan, on 25 January 1877.

Upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1901, he served in the Philippines with the 1st and 2d Battalions of Engineers, building roads and doing bridgework. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 3 April 1903 and served with the 2d Battalion of Engineers at Washington Barracks from December 1904 to June 1905. During that time, he was in Manassas, Virginia, doing surveying.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he helped initiate the Ohio River series of dams. He also served as Chief Engineer Officer in the Southwestern Division and Engineer Officer in the Department of the Colorado.

Under Colonel C. E. L. B. Davis, Corps of Engineers, Detroit, Michigan, he was temporarily in charge of the Detroit District, river and harbor.

He was promoted to Captain on 2 June 1908. In August 1908, he served in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was in charge of various fortifications, rivers, and harbors. During the three years at Jacksonville, he recommended building a harbor in Tampa; built the St. Johns River jetties; started the inland waterways canal; and received the Carnegie Medal for saving two men from drowning.

The next three years he was at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as an instructor in the Army Field Engineer School and was promoted to Major. He then was in charge of the First River and Harbor District, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky.

From there, he went to Fort Myer as an instructor at the training camp and temporarily was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In France, he commanded the 305th Engineers, was Division Engineer of the 80th Division, and served as Chief Engineer with the 5th Corps, First Army, and Third Army. He then was Assistant to the Chief Engineer, American Expeditionary Force. At Trier, Germany, he was a member of the Dickman Board on Organization and Tactics.

He  received three medals during the war, the Distinguished Service Medal, the French Legion d’Honneur, and the Belgian Order of Leopold.

Upon returning to the U.S., he was an instructor at the General Staff College in Washington, D.C., and returned to the grade of major. A year later, as a lieutenant colonel, he was in Florence, Alabama, as District Engineer where he completed the Muscle Shoals Dam (Wilson Dam). He returned to Louisville, Kentucky, as District Engineer and completed the Ohio River project that he had started in 1916.

While a Division Engineer of the Upper Mississippi Valley Division in St. Louis, Missouri, and a member of the Mississippi River Commission, he was promoted to Colonel on 1 Jul 1931.

His next duty was at Washington, D.C., in the Office of the Chief of Staff and then on to Fort Humphreys, Virginia, as Commander of the Post and Engineering School. In New York, New York, he served as Engineer of the North Atlantic Division and was promoted to Brigadier General.

He returned to Washington, D.C., as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4. In 1938, he retired from a disability in the line of duty. He died on 28 June 1962 at Bradenton, Florida, at the age of 85 years. He is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 01/25/1877
  • DATE OF DEATH: 06/28/1962


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 04/11/1880
  • DATE OF DEATH: 12/31/1966


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