Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HUGHES, George Wurtz, engineer, born in Elmira, New York, 30 September, 1806; died in West River, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, 3 September, 1870. He was educated at the United States military academy, but was not commissioned. He was employed under the canal commissioners of the state of New York in 1829, and in 1838 was appointed to the army as a captain of topographical engineers. In 1840 he was sent by the war department to Europe to examine and report on public works, mines, and other subjects. He was chief engineer on General Wool's staff in Mexico in 1846, and on that of General Worth in 1847, commanded a regiment of Maryland volunteers, and was civil and military governor of the Department of Jalapa and Perote, Mexico, from December, 1847, till the evacuation of Mexico in 1848. He was brevetted major, 18 April, 1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct at Cerro Gordo, and lieutenant-colonel, 30 May, 1848. Colonel Hughes was chief engineer of the Panama railroad, serving at first with permission of the government, in 1849-'50, and in 1853 was sent by the Crystal palace association as its representative to most of the European governments. He resigned his commission in the army on 4 August, 1851. He was president of the Baltimore and Susquehanna railroad in 1854-'5, was quartermaster-general of Maryland in 1855, and brigadier-general of militia in 1856. He was elected to congress from Maryland as a Democrat, and served from 5 December, 1859, till 3 March, 1861. From that date until his death he was a consulting engineer and planter at West River.
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