George M. Odom
Musician, Company A

Odom was born in Maine. He was living in Chicago at the time he enlisted as a musician in Company A of the Fifty-First in late 1861. Service records list his occupation as brakeman at the time of his enlistment. He was enrolled by Captain Henry Wescott whose independent militia company was known as the "Railroad Guards" before it became part of the Fifty-First Illinois. No doubt Odom was acquainted with Westcott from working on the railroad.

Odom was taken captive at Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, as he assisted the wounded of the regiment in one of the field hospitals or at the division hospital at Crawfish Springs. He made the same odyssey through Confederate prisons as his other captive comrades: by foot to Dalton, Georgia, by rail to prison in Richmond, in December 1863 transfer to Danville, Virginia, and then on to Andersonville in March 1864.

Odom survived; he was paroled at Charleston, South Carolina on December 5, 1864, hospitalized at Annapolis, Maryland until December 29 when he was furloughed home for 30 days. On January 27, he reported, still a paroled prisoner, to Camp Chase, Ohio. A day later he was sent on to Springfield, Illinois, where he was mustered out on February 18, 1865.

Photograph courtesy of Richard K. Tibbals Collection at the United States Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
George Odom Compiled Service Record, 51st Illinois Infantry, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917, Record Group 94, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.