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Allen, Henry Watkins (29 April 1820–22 April 1866), Confederate soldier and governor of Louisiana, was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, the son of Thomas Allen, a physician, and Ann Watkins. Allen and his family moved from Virginia to Ray County, Missouri, when he was thirteen. His father secured him a position working in a store, but Allen found business distasteful and enrolled in Marion College at age fifteen. At seventeen he ran away from college and traveled to Grand Gulf, Mississippi, where he became a tutor on a plantation a few miles outside of town. After tutoring for two years, Allen moved to Grand Gulf to open his own school and to study law. On 25 May 1841 he received his license to practice law in Mississippi. In 1842, when Allen was becoming an established lawyer in Mississippi, President ...

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Bate, William Brimage (07 October 1826–09 March 1905), Confederate general, governor, and U.S. senator, was born in Bledsoe’s Lick (now Castalian Springs), Sumner County, Tennessee, the son of James Henry Bate and Amanda Weathered, planters. William Bate received the rudiments of education at a local school, later named the Rural Academy, which he attended until age sixteen. At that time, 1842, his father died, and Bate took a job as a clerk on the steamboat ...

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Bonham, Milledge Luke (25 December 1813–27 August 1890), governor, congressman, and soldier, was born in South Carolina’s Edgefield District, the son of James Bonham and Sophie Smith, planters. His father died when he was two, and his mother saw to his education. Bonham attended private academies before graduating from South Carolina College in 1834. He entered the legal profession, engaged in local politics, and became prominent in state military affairs, rising to the rank of major general of militia. He led a brigade of Palmetto State volunteers in the Seminole War of 1836, a position that helped win him a stint in the state house of representatives (1840–1844). In 1845 he married Ann Griffin; they had fourteen children....

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Buckner, Simon Bolivar (01 April 1823–08 January 1914), Confederate lieutenant general and governor of Kentucky (1887-1891), Confederate lieutenant general and governor of Kentucky (1887–1891), was born at his family’s home, “Glen Lily,” in Hart County, Kentucky, the son of Aylett H. Buckner, a planter and iron manufacturer, and Elizabeth Ann Morehead. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1844. For gallant and meritorious conduct during the Mexican War Buckner was breveted captain. Before and after that war he served as a tactical officer at West Point and in other military posts....

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Churchill, Thomas James (10 March 1824–14 May 1905), soldier and politician, was born near Louisville in Jefferson County, Kentucky, the son of Samuel Churchill and Abby Oldham, farmers. After graduating from St. Mary’s College in Bardstown in 1844, Churchill attended Transylvania University and studied law. He joined the First Kentucky Mounted Riflemen Regiment as a lieutenant at the beginning of the Mexican War. Enemy cavalrymen captured Churchill in January 1847, and he remained a prisoner in the city of Mexico until the war had almost ended. Churchill purchased a plantation near Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1848 and began raising cotton. In 1849 he married Ann Sevier; they had four children. He received an appointment as postmaster at Little Rock in 1857....

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Clark, Charles (24 May 1811–17 December 1877), governor of Mississippi and Confederate general, was born the son of James Clark and Charlotte Alter, farmers. The third of ten children in a Methodist family that had moved from Maryland to Ohio, Clark graduated from Augusta College in Kentucky in 1831. He then accompanied an uncle to Mississippi, read law and then practiced law and taught school in Natchez. In 1835 he moved to Fayette in Jefferson County upon his marriage to Ann Eliza Darden, who was to bear him a son and three daughters. Espousing the pro-banking and internal improvements policies of Clay Whiggery, he served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1838 to 1844. During the Mexican War he raised a volunteer company and served as colonel of the Second Mississippi Infantry....

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Alfred H. Colquitt. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113057).

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Colquitt, Alfred Holt (20 April 1824–26 March 1894), Confederate military officer and politician, was born in Walton County, Georgia, the son of Walter T. Colquitt, an attorney and later a judge, congressman, and U.S. senator, and Nancy Lane. Graduating from Princeton University in 1844, Colquitt studied law and was admitted to the bar in Georgia in 1846....

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Floyd, John Buchanan (01 June 1806–26 August 1863), governor of Virginia, secretary of war, and Confederate general, was born in Montgomery County, Virginia, the son of John Floyd, a planter and doctor who later served as governor of Virginia at the time of ...

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Gary, Martin Witherspoon (25 March 1831–09 April 1881), lawyer, politician, and Confederate general, was born in Cokesbury, South Carolina, the son of Thomas Reeder Gary, a physician, and Mary Anne Porter. Thomas Gary was a wealthy, upcountry slave owner. In addition to practicing medicine, he farmed and represented Abbeville District for two terms in the state legislature. Martin Gary was a pupil at the Cokesbury Methodist Conference school. He attended South Carolina College but was expelled along with others in his junior class for rebelling against an unpopular teacher. He graduated from Harvard with honors in June 1854. In November of that year he went to Edgefield, South Carolina, to study law with Chancellor James P. Carroll and was admitted to the bar in May 1855. Until his death, Gary maintained a highly successful criminal law practice in Edgefield. Reared a Methodist, he joined the Trinity Episcopal Church in Edgefield and became a vestryman....

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John B. Gordon. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-2059).

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Gordon, John Brown (06 February 1832–09 January 1904), soldier and politician, was born in Upson County, Georgia, the son of Zachariah Herndon Gordon, a minister, and Malinda Cox. After studies at a private school established by his father, John attended Pleasant Green Academy for a year before entering the University of Georgia in 1850. He did well at Georgia but did not graduate. In 1854 he moved to Atlanta to pursue a legal career. His practice, however, was not as successful as he had hoped, and he decided to explore other fields of employment. After a brief stint as a journalist covering the Georgia General Assembly, he joined his father in a coal-mining venture that quickly prospered. In 1854 he married Fanny Rebecca Haralson, with whom he had six children....

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Hagood, Johnson (21 February 1829–04 January 1898), Confederate soldier and politician, was born in Barnwell County, South Carolina, the son of James O’Hear Hagood, a physician and planter, and Indina Allen. After graduating from the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina, in 1847, he read law with a Charleston judge and was admitted to the bar in 1850. Hagood returned to Barnwell County where, like his father, he combined planting with his profession. In 1851 he was appointed deputy adjutant general of the South Carolina militia and elected county commissioner in equity. In 1856 he married Eloise Brevard Butler, daughter of ...

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Hampton, Wade (28 March 1818–11 April 1902), Confederate general, governor of South Carolina, and U.S. senator, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Wade Hampton II and Ann FitzSimons. Named after his father, an immensely wealthy South Carolina planter, Hampton was raised at “Millwood,” the family estate on the Congaree River near Columbia. Privately tutored in his youth, he graduated from South Carolina College in 1836. He married Margaret Preston in 1838, and the couple settled at “Sand Hills,” Hampton’s estate on the outskirts of Columbia. They had four children before Margaret’s death in 1855. In 1858 Hampton married Mary McDuffie, daughter of Senator ...

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Hébert, Paul Octave (12 December 1818–29 August 1880), Louisiana governor and Confederate general, was born on his family’s sugar plantation, “Acadia,” along the banks of the Mississippi River in Iberville Parish, Louisiana, the son of Paul Gaston Hébert, a planter of Acadian or Cajun ancestry, and Mary Eugenia Hamilton. Bilingual in French and English, he graduated from Jefferson College (La.) at the top of his class in 1836. He then entered the U.S. Military Academy, where he finished in 1840 ranked first among forty-two graduates, including ...

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Humphreys, Benjamin Grubb (26 August 1808–20 December 1882), Confederate general and Mississippi governor, was born in Claiborne County, Mississippi Territory, the son of a planter, George Wilson Humphreys, and Sarah Smith. He entered West Point in 1825 in the same class with Robert E. Lee...

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James Lawson Kemper. Illustration in Harper's Weekly, 17 January 1874. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101495).

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Kemper, James Lawson (11 June 1823–07 April 1895), Confederate general and governor of Virginia, was born in Madison County, Virginia, the son of William Kemper, a merchant and farmer, and Maria Elizabeth Allison. From 1840 to 1842 he was a student at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, graduating from that institution with the equivalent of a modern-day B.A. During his student days in Lexington he also attended a civil engineering class at the Virginia Military Institute and, as a “Cincinnati cadet” volunteer, participated in a citizen-soldier training program as well....

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Kershaw, Joseph Brevard (05 January 1822–13 April 1894), lawyer, soldier, and politician, was born in Camden, South Carolina, the son of John Kershaw, a judge, and Harriette Du Bose. The Kershaws were a distinguished South Carolina family. Joseph was named for his paternal grandfather, who had immigrated to America from England in 1748 and was prominent in the American Revolution. Joseph’s father was mayor of Camden for several years and served one term in the U.S. Congress. Joseph studied for a career in law in the offices of the distinguished South Carolina lawyer John M. De Saussure and passed the South Carolina bar at age twenty-one. In 1844 he married Lucretia Douglas; the couple had one son and four daughters. After practicing for several years, beginning in June 1844, he participated in the Mexican War as a volunteer, serving as a lieutenant in South Carolina’s Palmetto Regiment. In Mexico, he saw action in several battles but became ill and was evacuated back to the United States in June 1847. Kershaw was elected to the South Carolina state legislature in 1852 and 1854, and he was a member of the state’s 1860 secession convention that met in Charleston, South Carolina....

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Oates, William Calvin (30 November 1833–09 September 1910), military officer and politician, was born in Pike County, Alabama, the son of William Oates and Sarah Sellers, farmers. His family was impoverished, and Oates attended school intermittently during his childhood. He left home when he was seventeen and fled to Florida, convinced he had killed a man in a brawl....