Famous Civil War Figures Graves 

Robert E. Lee. Civil War Confederate General. He is remembered for leading the Army of Northern Virginia to the brink of victory in the Civil War. Born to a Virginia family of nobility but little money, his father was Revolutionary War General, Virginia Governor, and Congressman Light Horse Harry Lee, his mother was Ann Hill Carter Lee of the distinguished Carter family, and his Lee collateral relatives included two signers of the Declaration of Independence. By the time young Robert arrived his father’s financial irresponsibility had reduced the family to poverty and after Harry spent 1809 in debtor’s prison the Lees moved to a small house in Alexandria where they were reduced to living on family charity. Harry was injured in an 1812 Baltimore political political riot and abandoned his family; Lee studied in Fauquier County and at Alexandria Academy and was to develop both studious habits and strong Christian faith, though he was not confirmed in the Episcopal Church until age 46. He also developed an abiding shame over the actions of his father’s later years; indeed it is said that Lee lived his own life in an attempt to atone for Light Horse Harry, and whether that be true or not he never named any of his own sons Henry or Harry. In 1824 Lee received an appointment to West Point via the intervention of William Henry Fitzhugh, a relative who had often provided material aid. From the time he entered the Academy in 1825 he had an outstanding record, never being charged with a demerit and graduating second in the class of 1829 to Charles Mason, later a noted attorney but now remembered only as the answer to the trivia question “Who beat Robert E. Lee at West Point?”. Following graduation he was assigned to the Corps of Engineers, the norm for students with good academic records, duty carrying prestige but little promotion opportunity. While he was on leave he experienced the trauma of having his mother die in his arms in August of 1829 but he was soon off to build forts on the the Georgia coast. In 1831 Lee was transferred to Fort Monroe, Virginia, and soon married Mary Custis, great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, whom he had been courting since 1829. The wedding took place only after the Custis family relaxed their opposition to Mary’s romance with the disgraced Light Horse Harry’s son; the Lees were devoted to each other and the union produced seven children though it was in some ways an unhappy match that Lee never objected to temporarily escaping when sent on assignment. Duty at Fort Monroe proved an unpleasant experience marked by staff conflicts and in 1834 Lee was posted to the Washington office of the Chief of Engineers. In 1837 he was sent west where he distinguished himself by vastly improving Mississippi River navigation especially at St. Louis and at the Des Moines Rapids near Keokuk, Iowa. Promoted to captain for his work along the Mississippi he was sent to Brooklyn in 1842 to become post engineer of Fort Hamilton where he worked on improving coastal defense. Lee made a number of structural improvements in the New York City area and earned praise but by 1846 he had 17 years in the Army and was still a captain with a family to support and little chance for advancement. Opportunity, however, was at hand and on August 19, 1846, Lee received his orders to report to General John Wool in preparation for service in Mexico. After traveling by ship to New Orleans, he then moved on to Texas where he joined up with General Wool. Lee and a Captain Fraser were in charge of road building on the advance into Mexico and did their jobs well, though progress was made easier by the lack of enemy contact. On January 16, 1847, he was ordered to report to General Winfield Scott who was then preparing to assault Vera Cruz. When he arrived near Vera Cruz, Lee was made a part of Scott’s inner circle of officers; working for him were Lieutenants P.G.T. Beauregard and George McClellan, while other staff officers with whom he had dealings included Joe Johnston, U.S. Grant, George Meade, and Gustavus Woodson Smith, all names that would become well known years hence. Lee participated in the battles of Vera Cruz, Contreras, and Churubusco, then was wounded at Chapultepec, his reconnaissance missions along the way proving essential to ultimate success. Along with Beauregard and McClellan, he assisted in preparing for General Scott’s entry into Mexico City; at the end, though he had been acclaimed and had earned three brevet promotions for gallantry, he still held the permanent rank of captain. After the conflict, he was sent to Baltimore as chief engineer then in 1852 returned to West Point as Superintendent with the rank of Brevet Colonel. Lee proved a popular and able executive while gaining experience that was to prove valuable in the post-Civil War years. He had a reputation for interacting well with the students and was to be a particular influence on Cadet and future General J.E.B. Stuart. In 1855 Lee was finally to achieve “real” promotion, a two-grade jump to Lieutenant Colonel, though at the price of leaving the Engineers, when he was posted to Texas as Executive Officer of the Second US Cavalry serving under Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. Though he was happy and successful, he found himself recalled to Arlington upon the October 10, 1857, death of his father-in-law George Washington Parke Custis. As the health of Mary Lee had steadily declined, Lee was stuck with sorting out the problems of the estate. Mr. Custis had large holdings but even larger debts and further had left a poorly drawn holographic will making financial bequests which there was no money to pay. Arlington Hall itself was left to Lee’s eldest son George Washington Custis Lee, known as “Custis”, who would one day serve as a Confederate Major General and who in 1882 would successfully sue the federal government and gain financial compensation for the taking of Arlington during the conflict. In the course of the settlement Lee was to make arrangements for the emancipation of Mr. Custis’ slaves, though he was to also ensure that they would be able to support themselves once free. In October of 1859 Lee received a message via Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart calling him from Arlington to Washington to deal with the capture of the armory at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, by anti-slavery activists led by John Brown. Under orders from President Buchanan and taking with him J.E.B. and a detachment of US Marines commanded by Lieutenant Israel Green, Lee departed by train for Harper’s Ferry. On the morning of October 18th J.E.B. delivered the final surrender demand then gave the signal for Green’s men to take the engine house, which they accomplished rapidly. When Brown was hanged on December 2nd, the event was carried out by Virginia Militia led by David Addison Weisiger, later a minor Confederate Brigadier General, while security was provided by V.M.I. Cadets under the command of Mexican War veteran Major Thomas Jackson, then called behind his back ‘Tom Fool’ but one day to be written down in history as ‘Stonewall’. Lee returned to his duties in Texas but storm clouds were brewing and after Texas seceeded from the Union and U.S. Army facilities were turned over to the Confederacy he was recalled by General Scott to Washington in February 1861, there to be promoted to Colonel and offered general’s stars along with command of the Union Army. A staunch Unionist and not a defender of slavery, Lee wanted to see the nation preserved but he was unwilling to invade the South to accomplish that end. Virginia seceeded on April 17, 1861; Lee resigned his commission on April 20th and was appointed Brigadier General in the Confederate Army on May 14th then the next month was named the third senior of the original five officers of four star rank. (The lineal list was Samuel Cooper, Albert Sidney Johnston, Lee, Joe Johnston, and Beauregard with Bragg, Kirby Smith, and Hood to follow later in the war). Initially tasked with training and arming Virginia troops, Lee conducted the essentially failed expedition into the western counties today called the West Virginia Campaign, then was sent to take charge of preparing coastal defenses in the lower southeast, doing a good enough job that his forts essentially held throughout the war. Returning to Richmond where he was already considered a failure after the western operation, he supervised the digging of trenches around the capital, earning himself the derisive title “King of Spades”. In February of 1862 he paid $200 for a gray gelding whom he named Traveller (using the British spelling) and rode for the rest of his life, though in periods of illness he sometimes used his smaller and tamer “other horse” Lucy Long, a gift from J.E.B. Stuart. Lee served as miliary advisor to President Davis until General Joe Johnston was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31, 1862. Command of the Army of Northern Virginia devolved upon General Gustavus Woodson Smith who suffered a nervous breakdown within 12 hours, leading Davis to place Lee in the top spot. He had his work cut out for him; the Confederacy had suffered multiple defeats, the public held no confidence in him, and McClellan was about four miles east of Richmond (at roughly the present location of Richmond International Airport) with an Army far larger and better equipped than anything Lee could muster. He organized the Seven Days Battle, a series of six late June engagements that only contained one clear cut victory, John Bell Hood’s June 27th assault at Gaines’ Mill, and cost numerous lives but ended with General McClellan bottled-up on the James River and no longer a danger to Richmond. Lee next turned his attention to Northern Virginia where from August 28th to 30th, with much help from Longstreet and Jackson, he routed General John Pope at Second Manassas; during this operation Lee fell and injured his hands, limiting his riding ability. The time of Second Manassas also marks the first recorded appearance of Lee’s chest pains, then called “rheumatism”, but in retrospect symptoms of the coronary artery disease that was to mark the rest of his life. Lee then moved into Maryland hoping to gather supplies, recruit new troops, and perhaps strike a blow into the northeast that would dampen the North’s willingness to fight; his efforts were derailed by the famous Lost Order No. 191 which gave away his plans to McClellan; on September 17, 1862, the armies met at Sharpsburg in the Battle of Antietam which resulted in roughly 26,000 combined casualties, still the greatest one day loss of life in American history. Withdrawing to Virginia after the drawn battle he organized his troops at Fredericksburg to meet the new Army of the Potomac commander Ambrose Burnside; on December 13, 1862, Union troops were sent up the side of Mayre’s Heights into a fortified position held by James Longstreet, thus ending thousands of lives and Burnside’s brief tenure in command. Longstreet was soon sent to Southside Virginia on a foraging expedition and thus as spring came Lee was missing a third of his Army. In late April he moved toward Cancellorsville, just west of Fredericksburg; between April 30th and May 6th Lee stopped Joe Hooker in the series of conflicts known collectively as the Battle of Chancellorsville, though at the cost of the May 2nd mortal wounding of Stonewall Jackson in a friendly fire incident. Lee next marched into Pennsylvania to meet the Union Army under its new commander George Meade. The entire operation which culminated in the Battle of Gettysburg was controversial at the time and will likely remain so forever, with whole books written about each day and questions asked as to whether he should have replaced Jackson with Richard Ewell, whether he should have followed Longstreet’s suggestions, whether he should have ordered Pickett’s Charge, and indeed whether he should have gone north in the first place. In the aftermath Meade was unable to persue as the victorious army was in virtually as bad a condition as the defeated one. Once back in Virginia, Lee’s health was poor, and knowing he bore the onus of failure, he offered to resign. The President, however, had nobody to replace him with. Interestingly, Gettysburg was not then seen as “final” in the way later generations viewed it thus Lee again reorganized and in the spring of 1864 staged the Wilderness Campaign, initially without Longstreet who after Gettysburg had been temporarily detached to General Braxton Bragg in Tennessee. Victories he won, albeit with the loss of men and supplies he could not replace; his main problem, however, was that the Union Army was now under the command of General U.S. Grant, thus denying to Lee the advantage of fighting the timid or incompetent. Forced into a nine month siege at Petersburg, he held out until finally compelled to retreat on April 2, 1865. During the stalemate, Lee was named General-in-Chief of the Confederate States Army on January 31, 1865, and pushed for the integration of black soldiers into the Army. The Cause, however, was lost and Lee finally had to abandon the line at Petersburg. Over the next week as he moved west, he attempted to obtain food and supplies and to link up with what little was left of the Army of Tennessee, now under Joe Johnston in North Carolina. Finally on April 9, 1865, Lee was out of alternatives and surrendered to General Grant at the McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia. He delivered the surrender himself rather than send a subordinate as he knew of the sense of insult his father had felt when the British made their capitulation at Yorktown via the most junior officer present, and that only after a sergeant had been rejected by George Washington. After the war, the men had to get back to whatever life they could salvage; the South had to be rebuilt, and Lee had to feed his family. His respect in the South was undiminished and though he faced the threat of legal action job offers came in, some of which could have made him wealthy. Desiring, however, to help restore the country’s prosperity in October 1865 he accepted the presidency of the then-small Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. Revered by students, faculty, and the local populace, he proved an effective administrator; in 1868 a move was made to have him run as the Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia. Lee knew he could win but he enjoyed his job and desired to remain where he was preparing a new generation. Further, he probably suspected that his heart was not up to the rigors of political office. He kept active when he could, walking and riding his horses, but as time went on it became obvious that Lee was aged beyond his years; he was able to travel some, going to Baltimore and visiting President Grant at the White House in the spring of 1869. In late March of 1870 Lee undertook a two month trip thru the South during which he visited the graves of his father and of his daughter Annie and bade farewell to old friends. Upon his return he consulted with doctors in Richmond and Baltimore who did for him what little they could; he also spent time with Edmund Valentine who was in the process of creating the statue that would cover his tomb. The sculptor had wanted to meet with Lee in the fall, but apparently sensing that his final deployment was at hand the General instructed him not to wait. When the fall school term began Lee was at his post; during his years in Lexington he had worshipped and served as a vestryman at Grace Episcopal Church which was pastored by his old Chief of Artillery General William Nelson Pendleton. On September 28th he was in his capacity as Senior Warden conducting a vestry meeting when he suffered a stroke. The General made it home on his own but was obviously quite ill; over the ensuing days he was cared for by physicians and seemed to rally at times, though at others he was unable to speak coherently. On October 12th Lee uttered the last words, “Strike the tent”, and died. His wife Mary, in poor health for years, followed him to the grave in 1873, while at his death his son Custis became president of what would one day be Washington and Lee University. After the war Lee had taken the Oath of Allegiance and applied for his pardon, but for some reason his paperwork was lost and remained so until 1970; in 1975 his American Citizenship was posthumously restored by President Gerald Ford. Today Fort Lee, Virginia, carries his name, as does a multitude of counties, schools, towns, bridges, and city streets. Statues of him adorn his grave, Stone Mountain, Georgia, Monument Avenue in Richmond, and numerous other public places, while his image has been on a Virginia license plate, several US postage stamps, and continues to hang in thousands of homes. Lee has been the subject of countless biographies ranging from works for small children to those intended for academics, with the definitive being Douglas Southall Freeman’s four volume “R.E. Lee” (1934-1935). For a quiet man General Lee left a large number of quotes and while no single one can define him perhaps this comes close: “Do your duty in all things…you cannot do more…you should never wish to do less”.

William Tecumseh Sherman. Civil War Union Major General. He led an army of sixty-two thousand men with thirty-five thousand horses and twenty-five hundred wagons on an overland march to Savannah on a mission to punish the south for its secession from the union. He cut his army off from the union supply line allowing the troops to forage and sustain them self by feeding off the land. From Savannah, a swath of utter destruction was left by Sherman’s Army. The tracks of the railroad, trestles and rolling stock were destroyed. Towns, plantations and farms were burned and looted. He destroyed all the public buildings in Atlanta but heaped the most vengeance on South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union. Columbia was completely burned to the ground. The results of this march, together with Grant’s victories in Virginia, brought the South to the surrender table. He was born in Lancaster, Ohio as William Tecumseh Sherman into a family of eleven. His father, a lawyer and jurist, died when he was nine and the children were parceled out to relatives and friends. William was sent to the family of Thomas Ewing, a next-door neighbor who was a U.S. senator and a cabinet member. His excellent early education was at the Lancaster academy where his outstanding scholastic record earned him an appointment to West Point at age sixteen. After graduating sixth in his class, he was commissioned a second lieutenant. Sherman served in South Carolina then Georgia, but saw very little action in the Mexican-American war. He resigned from the Army to pursue a career in banking, then a as a lawyer, but with little success. His bank failed and he accepted the position as first president of the Louisiana Military Seminary. The institution would become Louisiana State University. The Civil War brought him back to active duty and he took up the Union cause commanding a number of major battles from leading a brigade at Bull Run, a division at Shiloh and then in charge of four divisions at Vicksburg. Everlasting fame was his during the Georgia campaign and his “March to the Sea.” The post Civil War…When Grant became President, Sherman became the top general in the Army and served in this high post until his retirement. He oversaw the completion of the transcontinental railroad and orchestrated the defeat of the Plains Indian tribes. An important contribution was the establishment of the Command School at Ft. Leavenworth. His memoirs, a two-volume classic, was published in 1875. Sherman retired from the army in 1884 and lived the rest of his life in New York City. He loved the theatre and was much in demand as a colorful speaker at dinners and banquets. Sherman was courted by the Democrats to became their presidential candidate spurring him to coin the famous response, “If nominated, I will not run, if elected I will not serve.” He died in New York City at age seventy-one. A brief service was held at his residence with a grand procession escorting his coffin to a special waiting train poised to convey his body to St Louis for interment in the family plot. Upon arrival at the Union Depot in the Missouri city, a caisson drawn by four black horses waited to transport his remains through downtown St. Louis to Calvary Cemetery and burial beside his wife, the former Ellen Ewing, the daughter of his foster father, and two of his children. His son, Father Thomas Sherman, a Jesuit priest, conducted a brief service. The Sherman legacy…Countless streets, schools and buildings bear his name and hundreds of books have been written about the General. Some of the most enduring monuments…a statue of Sherman on his horse, walking behind an angel carrying an olive branch is located at Grand Army Plaza, corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street in New York. The statue was the 11-year project of Augustus Saint Gaudens. Its recent regilding was a gift of Donald Trump. The original and well preserved Sherman House, in his hometown of Lancaster, is his birthplace as well as his famous brother Senator John Sherman author of the Anti-Trust Act. The General Sherman Tree located in Sequoia National Park in the “Giant Forest” bears his name and is reputed to be the largest tree in the world. The M4 Sherman tank which was the mainstay of the western allies between 1942 and 1945 was named after the famous Civil War General. He has been honored four times by the Postal Service…in 1893 and again in 1895 with a definitive 8 cent stamp. He shared a 3-cent commemorative stamp with General Grant and Phil Sheridan in 1937 and then in 1995 was depicted in a set of twenty 32-cent commemorative stamps focusing on famous individuals and battles in the civil war.

Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. Civil War Confederate Lieutenant General. Born in what is now the state of West Virginia, in the town of Clarksburg to parents who unable to secure medical attention died literally as the result of extreme poverty. Orphaned, he was taken in and raised by an uncle. Desiring an education, he applied to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, realizing acceptance meant a free education. Though, ill-prepared, he applied himself and his grades improved each year resulting graduating in 1846 17th in a class of 59. He performed stellar service in the Mexican War, then resigned from the Army to accept a professorship at Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia. His summer vacations from teaching were spent traveling to the North and in Europe where his interests were aroused in art and culture. His peaceful life ended with the start of the Civil War. He was ordered to Richmond as part of the cadet corps. The South believed his experience as a teacher merited making him a Brigadier General. He did not disappoint: After receiving his nickname “Stonewall” at Bull Run because of his battlefield demeanor, he continually impressed the Confederacy with his skill on the battlefield distinguishing himself in the Valley campaign, the Battle of second Manassass and the Battle of Fredericksburg to become a Southern hero. During the Chancellorsville Battle, Jackson rode forward to scout with a party. As darkness descended, they returned in the direction of their lines coming upon posted Confederates who mistaking them for Union combatants opening fire killing two staff members outright while three bullets struck General Jackson. He was transported some 28 miles by horse ambulance to Chandler plantation at Guinea Station to an outbuilding His left arm was amputated at the shoulder. Recovery was unsuccessful and he succumbed to fever and pneumonia after languishing for eight days with his wife by his bedside. His body was taken to Richmond, placed in a casket and then by packet boat to Virginia Military Institute where Cadets met and carried the remains to his old classroom where it lay in state. A battery fired salutes from sunrise to sunset. The body enveloped in the Confederate Flag was borne on a caisson to Lexington Presbyterian, the family church for services, and then completed with burial in the family plot at Lexington Cemetery. The body was disinterred later and reburied beneath a statue in the cemetery center which was also renamed for him. Much remains of the life of General Jackson: A granite monument marks the actual spot of his wounding and stands on the grounds of the Chancellorsville Batttlefield Visitor Center. The office building where Jackson was taken has been restored and is part of the Fredricksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Many items used during the General’s stay are still there and other pieces from the era along with a few reproductions recreate a scene reminiscent of the last days of his life. The Stonewall Jackson House located in Lexington is the only home that was ever owned by the General and his wife. He lived in the house while he taught at the V.M.I. It is on the National Register and furnished with period pieces including many of Jackson’s personal possessions. The V.M.I. museum is the ultimate repository. It holds a large collection of his personal paper and images and artifacts such as his favorite hat, two uniforms, the raincoat worn when shot and many items from the his former classroom and above all his mounted steed Little Sorrel.

Nathan Bedford Forrest. Civil War Confederate Lieutenant General. He was born in Marshal County, Tennessee the son of a poverty-stricken, backwoods blacksmith. No man had more to overcome during his rise to fame. With no formal education, at the age of sixteen, he was forced into adulthood to not only provide for himself but a large family left by the death of his father. Through the seamy business of slave trading, he became a multimillionaire. At the onset of the civil war, Forrest enlisted as a private in a Tennessee regiment. He was a friend of Tennessee Governor Harris who promptly had him discharged so that Forrest could recruit and form his own battalion of cavalry. So, with no formal military training, he found a way to become a general. He recruited men who could furnish their own weapons and he equipped the group at his own expense. He developed raiding tactics that made his cavalry a superb strike force. He seemed to be a natural military genius with an intuitive grasp not only of tactics, but also of logistics. He is noted mainly as a highly successful raider behind union lines but also distinguished himself in several traditional type battles. His postwar activities included a leadership role with the Ku Klux Klan until he ordered dissolution in 1869 because of its extreme radical nature. He failed in many business ventures and never regained the fortune lost as a result of the civil war. Plagued by illness, he died at the home of his brother in Memphis the result of diabetes at the age of 57. Services were held at Court Avenue Presbyterian Church in Memphis with an oration given by Jefferson Davis. A funeral procession formed at the church by thousands of marchers who then proceeded to accompany the body to Elmwood Cemetery where it was interred. In 1905, with the political climate favorable, He and his wife were reinterred and moved to downtown Memphis in what today is known as Forrest Park which is located on Union Avenue.

Gen Henry Lewis Benning. Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. After graduating from Georgia’s Franklin College in 1834, he moved to Columbus, Georgia, where he excelled in law and in states -rights politics, rising to associate justice of the Georgia supreme court and serving as a delegate in the 1860 Democratic conventions. A vocal secessionist, he argued vigorously for the state’s supremacy in almost all government matters, and while on the state bench he endorsed that court’s authority over Federal court decisions and claimed the state and Federal judiciary were “co-equals.” He served as a delegate in the Georgia state secession convention and as a Georgia delegate in the Virginia convention that followed. But he preferred military service to politics and was commissioned Colonel of the 17th Georgia Infantry in August of 1861. After service with his regiment in the Seven Days’ Campaign and Second Bull Run, he distinguished himself at Antietam, where he fought in the vicious Confederate holding action at Burnside Bridge. Brigadier General Robert A. Toombs was badly wounded and Toombs’s brigade command fell to him. He led it through the rest of the battle and was successful in driving the Federals from the town of Sharpsburg. He credited Toombs, an old political associate, with the brigade’s success that day, but the honors belonged to him. He led Toombs’s brigade again at Fredricksburg. After squabbles with the Confederate administration, Toombs resigned his commission in March 1863 and he was appointed Brigadier General on the 23rd of that month. Attached to Major General John Bell Hood’s division in the army’s I Corps, he fought with it through Gettysburg. He then saw action at Chickamauga, where he and his men were sent into a large gap that had developed in the Federal line, and fell into fierce fighting. After saving Brigadier General Evander Law’s brigade from a Union flank attack, capturing 8 cannon, and losing 510 men, he received commendation in official reports. He served in the Battle of Knoxville and the fight for Fort Sanders, then he was transferred back to Virginia for the Battle of the Wilderness. There, he was wounded and unable to rejoin his command until the Siege of Petersburg. With his men he sat out the siege, then campaigned on to Appomattox. Though he never rose to high command, his tough war service won him his troops’ esteem and the army nickname “Old Rock.” After the war he remade his law career in Georgia, where he died, in Columbus. The United States Army’s Fort Benning, Georgia, was named in his memory.

Felix Kirk Zollicoffer. Civil War Confederate Brigadier General, US Congressman. Born in Bigbyville, Maury County, Tennessee, a descendant of immigrants from Switzerland who settled in North Carolina, after education in local schools he became a printer. After working for newspapers in Paris and Knoxville, Tennessee, and in Huntsville, Alabama, he was elected in 1835 to be Tennessee’s State Printer. During the 1836 to 1838 2nd Seminole War in Florida he served as an officer in the Tennessee Militia. A supporter of the Whig Party, after his return from military service he became editor and publisher of “The Republican Banner”, which was the official newspaper for the Whig Party in Tennessee in 1843. He entered politics, being elected and serving as the state’s Comptroller from 1845 to 1849, serving as Tennessee’s Adjutant General, and in the Tennessee State Legislature. After supporting General Winfield Scott for the 1852 Presidential Election and the disintegration of the Whig Party in the 1850s, he joined the American Party, and was elected to represent Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Serving three terms from 1853 to 1859, while staunchly supporting Southern issues during the sectional crisis of the 1850s, he was opposed to secession. He declined to run for a fourth term and supported John Bell in the 1860 Presidential Campaign. Once the Civil War started he offered his services to the Confederacy, and was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army on July 9, 1861. He was placed in command of the District of Eastern Tennessee, an area with a strong Unionist sentiment, and administered it with leniency. However, he could not stem the Unionist activities there, and after Unionists tried to burn a vital bridge in the district in November 1861, he was tasked to clear out Union Army forces there and in southern Kentucky. Having made successful forays against Union troops into Kentucky in September and October 1861, he was initially in charge of the planning for the operations, but in December 1861 was superseded as Department head by Major General George B. Crittenden. Placed in command of a brigade of ten regiments, General Zollicoffer nevertheless led his troops into Kentucky in January 1862. On January 19, 1862, at the Battle of Mill Springs, near what is today Nancy, Kentucky, his men attacked and surprised a Union Army force, and initially drove them back. However, the battle became confusing with smoke and fog, and General Zollicoffer, wearing a very noticeable white coat, rode over to Union lines where the 4th Kentucky (Union) Volunteer Infantry was positioned. Believing they were his own men, he ordered them to stop firing, but when the Union troops realized who he was, he was shot and killed, allegedly by Colonel Speed S. Fry, commander of the Kentuckians. The first Confederate general to die in combat in what is considered the Western Theatre of the war, General Zollicoffer’s death, along with timely Union re-enforcements, turned the tide of the battle, and the Confederates were driven from the field. His remains were recovered by the Union, who had it embalmed and forwarded it to Confederate lines. He was eventually interred in the Nashville City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee. A cenotaph was erected for him in the Zollicoffer Park battlefield cemetery, and a monument was erected for him at the spot where he was killed.

Fitzhugh Lee. Civil War Confederate Major General. He was the nephew of Robert E. Lee, graduated from West Point in 1856 and served as a cavalry officer in Texas. At the start of the Civil War he resigned his commission and organized 1st Virginia Cavalry as Lieutenant Colonel. In July 1862, he was promoted Brigadier General and fought in Peninsula campaign. He commanded cavalry at Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania and was promoted Major General in September, 1863. In September 1864, at the Third Battle of Winchester, he was wounded and was out of action for the remainder of the war. After the war, he was appointed consul general in Havana and served in the Spanish-American War as a Major General in the US Volunteer Army.

Elisha Franklin “Bull” Paxton. Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. Born at Rockbridge City, Virginia, he was a graduate of Washington College, (now Washington and Lee), and Yale University, and studied law at the University of Virginia, ranking 1st in his class. He began his legal practice in Ohio before settling in Lexington, Virginia, in 1854. 5 years later he abandoned his profession because of failing eyesight. When Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, he enlisted as a Lieutenant in the Rockbridge Rifles, which became a company of the 27th Virginia Infantry. This regiment of Shenandoah Valley volunteers and 4 other Virginia regiments were brigaded under the command of Brigadier General Thomas J. Jackson. At First Bull Run, Jackson and his command earned enduring fame as “Stonewall” and the “Stonewall Brigade.” In October 1861 he was elected Major of the 27th. Nicknamed “Bull,” he lacked the ability to gain favor with his men and in the spring of 1862, he failed reelection. Jackson, who liked his fellow Lexingtonian, appointed him to his staff as assistant adjutant general with the rank of Major. He served Jackson during the campaigns of 1862, temporarily acting as chief of staff. On November 1, with Jackson’s endorsement, the staff officer was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to the command of the Stonewall Brigade. Jackson advanced him over all the regimental commanders, whom Jackson believed were not qualified for the post. The officers and enlisted men vehemently protested the appointment. Colonel Andrew Jackson Grigsby, commander of the 27th, led the protest, eventually resigning in disgust. He never had the opportunity to vindicate his selection by Jackson. The Stonewall Brigade held a reserve position at Fredericksburg, Virginia, in December 1862. At Chancellorsville, on May 2, 1863, when Jackson’s Corps routed the Union XI Corps in a surprise attack, his brigade again acted as support. The next morning, as the brigade prepared to attack in the early light, he was killed instantly by a minie ball. Today he rests today only a few feet from Jackson.

James Scott Negley. Civil War Union Major General, US Congressman. At the start of the Civil War, he organized a brigade of Union Infantry and Artillery for the West and was commissioned Brigadier General in April 1861. He commanded the Union forces at the Battle of Chattanooga and was promoted Major General in command the 2nd Division, Center Corps in November 1862. After the defeat at Chickamauga, he was relieved of command and served on several administrative boards until he resigned in January 1865. After the war, he was elected as a Republican to the Forty-first, Forty-second and Forty-third Congresses, serving 1869 to 1875.

Don Carlos Buell. Civil War Union Major General. He graduated from West Point in 1841, was commissioned an infantry officer, serving in action in the Seminole and Mexican Wars. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was Assistant Adjutant General and was given command of a division in the Army of Potomac in August 1861. In November 1861, he was promoted Major General in command of the Army of the Ohio, seeing action at Shiloh, Corinth and Perryville. Complaints were made against Buell’s unwillingness to follow orders from Washington led to an investigation, which resulted in he never being offered another command and he resigned from the Army in June, 1864. After the war he moved to Kentucky and became president of the Green River Iron Company.

Charles Smith Hamilton. Civil War Union Major General. He graduated from the US Military Academy in 1843, served in the Mexican War and remained in the Army until 1853. In 1861, he was commissioned Colonel of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry Regiment and in the same year was promoted to Brigadier General. He was transferred to the Department of the Mississippi, where he participated in the battles at Iuka and Corinth. Promoted to Major General in mid 1862, he became involved in a tactical dispute with General S. A. Hurlbut, which led to his resignation in 1863. After leaving the Army, he moved to Milwaukee, engaged in manufacturing and was US Marshal for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1869 to 1877.

John Thomas Lewis Preston. Educator. He was the founder of the Virginia Military Institute in 1839 and one of its first professors. The Preston library at VMI is named for him.  Margarets sister Eleanor, married Thomas Jackson on August 4, 1853. Preston was also a lawyer. When the Civil War broke out Preston oppossed secession and served under his brother-in-law, Stonewall Jackson. Preston became a Colonel by wars end. After the war, he returned to teaching at VMI until his retirement in 1882. His father Thomas served in the Virginia House of Delegates from Rockbridge County from 1806 to 1811.

Margaret Junkin Preston is the famed “Poetess of the Confederacy”. Author. Among her works are “Silverwood, a Book of Memories,” “A Rhyme of the War,” and “Old Songs and New.” Her inspiration to write this poetry came at the expense of VMI being burned by Union troops in 1864.

Fannie Battle. Confederate spy and social reformer. While Nashville was occupied by Union forces, she was one of many female spies who obtained a pass and visited town often to gather information. She and her sister were discovered smuggling documents, and were sent to prison in the former Tennessee State Penitentiary, and then later to the Old Capitol Prison in Washington DC. She was released after the war, and returned to Nashville, where she taught at several schools from 1870 to 1886. She helped form a relief society for Nashville, to help victims of floods, as well as other homeless and poor people, and served as its treasurer. In 1891 she established the first daycare in Nashville, which is still running and now called “The Fannie Battle Day Home for Children.”

Top picture is grave marker in Pulaski, TN and his current grave in Smryna, TN is the bottom grave. 

Sam Davis. Confederate Martyr. Confederate soldier Sam Davis was captured behind enemy lines while acting as a courier. He refused to reveal the other members of his unit, or their sources of intelligence, and was hanged as a spy. His steadfast loyalty to his comrades, and his manly bearing during his trial and execution, earned him the respect of friends and enemies alike, and he became a martyr for the Confederate cause. A monument to his memory stands on the grounds of the Tennessee Capitol in Nashville. In 1977, Davis became the first to be posthumously awarded the Confederate Medal of Honor by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Benjamin Franklin Cheatham. Civil War Confederate Major General. He was regarded as one of the Confederate Army’s most outstanding commanders. A farmer, during the Mexican War he served as the Colonel of the 3rd Tennessee. At the start of the Civil War he was a senior officer in the Tennessee Militia when appointed Brigadier General of Provisional Army of Tennessee, in July 1861. Serving throughout the Civil War, he commanded divisions in the Army of Tennessee at Belmont, Shiloh where he was wounded and during the defense of Corinth, Mississippi, he was promoted Major General. After participating in the Tullahoma Campaign, he fought in the Confederate victory at Chickamauga and then in the Atlanta Campaign. During the battle of the Carolinas in April 1865, his division was consolidated in size and he led until the surrender near Durham Station, North Carolina. After the war, he returned to farming for a while and latter served as a prison official and a postmaster.

Randal William McGavock. Civil War Confederate Army Officer. He served as a Colonel in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and was killed in action at Raymond, Mississippi. He served as Mayor of Nashville, Tennessee from 1858 to 1859.

William Brimage Bate. Civil War Confederate Major General, Tennessee Governor, US Senator. At age 19 he enlisted as a Private for service in the Mexican War (1846 to 1848), rising to the rank of Lieutenant in the 3rd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. After the war he studied law, served in the Tennessee House of Representatives (1849 to 1851), and became a practicing attorney in Gallatin in 1852. He was elected Nashville District Attorney General in 1854. When the Civil War began, Bate joined the Confederate forces as Colonel of the 2nd Tennessee Infantry and first saw action at the First Battle of Manassas (July 1861). He nearly lost a leg in the Battle of Shiloh (April 1862), was promoted to Brigadier General in October 1862, and distinguished himself at the Battle of Chickamauga and the Chattanooga Campaign. In 1864 he was promoted to Major General and commanded Bate’s Division during the Atlanta and Carolinas Campaigns. By the end of the war he had been wounded three times and had six horses shot from beneath him. Returning to civilian life, he resumed his law practice in Gallatin while maintaining strong ties to the local Democratic Party. Bate was twice elected Governor of Tennessee, serving from 1883 to 1887, and in 1887 he was elected to the first of four consecutive terms in the US Senate. During his time on Capitol Hill, Bate served as Chairman of the Committees on Improvement of the Mississippi River and its Tributaries, Military Affairs, and Public Health and National Quarantine. He died in Washington DC days into his fourth term. His funeral services were held in the US Senate Chamber.

Alvan Cullom Gillem. Civil War Union Brevet Major General. In 1851, he graduated from West Point, was commissioned an officer in the 1st US artillery and participated in the war against the Seminoles in Florida. When the Civil War erupted, he was assigned artillery quartermaster for the Army of the Ohio in the Tennessee Campaign, being engaged at Shiloh and in the Siege of Corinth. He was appointed Colonel Provost Marshal for the 10th Tennessee Volunteers in May 1862 and commanded a brigade in the Tennessee operations during the first half of 1863. In August 1863, he was promoted Brigadier General and commanded the troops guarding the Nashville and Northwestern railroad until August, 1864. In 1865, he commanded cavalry troops in east Tennessee, participated in the capture of Salisbury, North Carolina and was brevetted Major General of US Volunteers. After the war he remained in the Regular Army as a Colonel, commanded the District of Mississippi in 1867 and served on the Texas frontier.

William Nelson Rector Beall. Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. His parents moved from Kentucky to Arkansas where he was raised. Gaduating 30th in his class from the United States Military Academy in 1848, he was commissioned to the United States Army as a Brevet 2nd Lieutenant with the 4th United States Regular Infantry. Serving first on the Northwestern Frontier, in 1849 he recieved his official 2nd Lieutenant commission, and was assigned to the 5th United States Regular Infantry. He served in the Indian Territory and Texas until 1855. He eventually was promoted to 1st Lieutenant, then to Captain with the 1st United States Regular Calvary, being involved in battles and expeditions against the Indian Tribes in the West, primarily in Kansas. In 1860 he participated in a raid against the Kiowas and Commanches Indian Tribes. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, he resigned his commission and was appointed as Captain of the Calvary in the Confederate Army. He served under the direction of General Earl Van Dorn and he was appointed as Brigadier General, PACS in 1862. Placed in command of the Confederate Calvary Forces at Corinth, Mississippi, he commanded a brigade of troops in Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisana. At the seige of Port Hudson, the Confederate Forces surrendered on July 9th, 1863, and he was taken as prisoner after the capitulation. Imprisoned at Johnson’s Island on Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio, in 1864, Beall was appointed as Confederate Agent for his fellow prisoners, in charge of supplies. He was eventually paroled for this purpose. He established an office in New York City and sold cotton through the Union Blockade of Southern Ports. The proceeds from those sales were used to purchase blankets and clothing for Confederate Soldiers in Union Prison Camps. On January 3rd, 1865, Union General Henry Halleck wrote to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, complaining about General Beall’s illegal trade. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton suspended Beall’s Parole, because of it, and placed him in Fort Lafayette in New York Harbor as a Prisoner of War, until the cotton safely arrived from Mobile, Alabama. He was finally released from Federal custody on August 2nd, 1865. After the War, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri and became a general commission merchant.

George Earl Maney. Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. At the start of the Civil War he was a native of Nashville and a successful lawyer when elected Colonel of the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment. He led the 1st Tennessee in actions at Manassas Junction, Chattanooga, Corinth and after the Battle of Battle of Shiloh, he was promoted Brigadier General in April, 1862. In command of a brigade in the Army of Tennessee, he participated in the battles of Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain. During the Atlanta Campaign in 1864, he fought at the battles of Kennesaw Mountain, Jonesboro and Franklin. After the Battle of Atlanta, he retreated into northern Mississippi and joined the remains of his Army of Tennessee forces with General Johnson and moved to South Carolina for the final Battle at Bentonville. On April 26, 1865, he surrendered the 1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment to the Union. After the war, he resumed his legal practice.

William Hicks “Red” Jackson. Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. He graduated from the US Military Academy in 1856, serving as an officer in the US Mounted Riflemen during the Comanche and Kiowa expedition of 1860. At the start of the Civil War, he resigned his commission and entered the service of the Confederate States as a Captain of artillery. In the Battle of Belmont, November, 1861, he and was seriously wounded. After recovering, he returned to the field as Colonel of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry and was promoted Brigadier General, Chief of Cavalry in December 1862. He commanded cavalry at the Battle of Corinth, Vicksburg Campaign and the Meridian Campaign of February, 1864. During the Atlanta Campaign, he commanded the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Mississippi, led his division through the Nashville, Murfreesboro campaigns and was assigned command of all Tennessee Cavalry until the close of the war. After the war, he engaged in stock raising and farming.

Caroline Douglas Meriwether Goodlett. Founder of the United Daughters of the Confederacy .Through her efforts the State deeded part of the Hermitage tract for a home for needy Confederate soldiers. In 1870 the Confederate women of Nashville organized a Memorial Association and bought a lot in Mount Olivet Cemetery, where they buried the remains of Confederate soldiers in the vicinity of Nashville. Caroline was a charter member of the Board of the Confederate Monumental Association that erected a monument over the Confederate soldiers buried in the circle.In 1890, The Auxiliary of the Confederate Soldiers’ Home was organized in Tennessee and Mrs. Goodlett was elected President.Gradually, the Auxiliary began to operate as Daughters of the Confederacy on May 10, 1892.In 1905, the title of “Founder” of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was conferred upon Mrs. Goodlett at the General Convention in San Francisco.Wife of Colonel Michael Campbell Goodlett.

James Edward Rains. Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. He was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and later graduated from Yale Law School in 1854, returning to his hometown he opened his practice, and in 1858 was elected city attorney. A political ally of Nashville Republican Banner editor Felix K. Zollicoffer, he became associate editor of the Banner and in 1860 won the office of district attorney for Davidson, Williamson, and Sumner counties. When the Confederate 11th Tennessee Infantry organized in May 1861, he joined as a Private, then was elected Colonel, and with his regiment mustered into Zollicoffer’s brigade in midsummer. He fought in his first skirmish in Laurel County, Kentucky, on September 26, 1861, north of Cumberland Gap, and in November occupied the gap with 2 regiments and 7 cannon. He held this position until confronted by Union Brigadier General George W. Morgan’s forces in June 1862, then, on orders, retired to Tennessee. The next month he returned with elements of Major General E. Kirby Smith’s force, drove Morgan from the gap, and in Major General Carter L. Stevenson’s division fought through the Kentucky Campaign. For this service he was promoted to Brigadier General on November 4, 1862, and assigned command of the 2nd Brigade in Major General John P. McCown’s division for the Battle of Stone’s River. There, leading his brigade in a sweeping maneuver against the Federal right flank, he was killed. Following the battle, a clergyman received Union Major General William S. Rosecrans’ permission to move his body through Union lines for burial at Nashville on the condition that the funeral did not become a Confederate propaganda event. It did, however, and he, young and talented, briefly achieved the status of Confederate martyr.

Gen Joseph Benjamin Palmer. Civil War Confederate Brigadier General. Born in Rutherford City, Tennessee, he was practicing as a lawyer when appointed Colonel of the 18th Tennessee Regiment at the start of the Civil War. He was part of the garrison surrendered at Fort Donelson in February 1862 and after being prisoner exchanged was given command of a brigade in the Army of Mississippi. He fought in the battles of Stone River, Chickamauga and was appointed to district command in the Department of Tennessee in November 1863. He participated in the Atlanta Campaign and was promoted Brigadier General in November 1864. He led the Tennessee regiments in actions through the Carolinias until he surrendered to Union forces on May 1, 1865. After the war, he resumed legal practice in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Bio by: John “J-Cat” Griffith

Grave location found on Find A Grave Memorial 

Gates Phillips Thruston, Sr. Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. Served in the Civil War first as a Captain on the 1st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was then detailed to staff work, first as a Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Adjutant General and Chief of Staff to Maj. Gen. Alexander McD. McCook, then as Acting Judge Advocate on the staff of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas. He was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on March 13, 1865 for “meritorious services generally during the war, and particularly for gallant and meritorious conduct at the battles of Stone’s River, Tenn., and Chickamauga, Ga.”. He was the nephew of Union Brig. Gen. Charles M. Thruston.

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