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Alexander, Edward Porter (26 May 1835–28 April 1910), Confederate soldier and author, was born in Washington, Georgia, the son of Adam Leopold Alexander, a planter and banker, and Sarah Hillhouse Gilbert. Educated by tutors in his wealthy family’s household, Alexander entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1853 and graduated third in the class of 1857. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant of engineers on 1 July 1857 and was promoted to second lieutenant on 10 October 1858. Marked from the first as a promising officer, he taught at West Point immediately upon graduation, accompanied ...

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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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Anderson, George Thomas “Tige” (03 February 1824–04 April 1901), Confederate brigadier general, was born in Covington, Newton County, Georgia, the son of Joseph Stewart and Lucy Cunningham Anderson. Although his family was in comfortable circumstances, he early became accustomed to the hard work of farm life. After attending Emory College near his home, he served in the Mexican War from 1847 to 1848. Joining the Georgia Mounted Volunteers as a second lieutenant in 1847, Anderson participated in the fighting around Mexico City and served under Major General ...

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Joseph R. Anderson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-2073).

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Anderson, Joseph Reid (16 February 1813–07 September 1892), industrialist and Confederate soldier, was born in Botetourt County in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the son of William Anderson and Anna Thomas, farmers. Anderson received his early education in the local schools. After having been rejected twice, he entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1832 at age nineteen. Graduating fourth of forty-nine in 1836, he preferred a post in the elite Corps of Engineers but was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Third Artillery. Soon he was assigned to Fort Monroe, where he met his first wife, Sally Archer, daughter of the post physician, Dr. Robert Archer. They were married in the spring of 1837 and eventually had five children....

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Anderson, Patton (16 February 1822–20 September 1872), Confederate soldier, was born James Patton Anderson in Winchester, Franklin County, Tennessee, the son of William Preston Anderson, a soldier and U.S. district attorney, and Margaret L. Adair. His father died in 1831. Patton Anderson attended common school in Tennessee and Kentucky and in October 1836 entered Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. His stepfather, J. N. Bybee, suffered financial reversals that led to Anderson’s withdrawal from college in 1837. In the autumn of 1838 Anderson accompanied his stepfather and the family to Mississippi, where they settled at Hernando, in De Soto County. Anderson reentered Jefferson College in April 1839 and graduated in 1840....

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Anderson, Richard Heron (07 October 1821–26 June 1879), Confederate general, was born at “Hill Crest,” near Statesburg, in Sumter District, South Carolina, the son of William Wallace Anderson, an eminent surgeon, and Mary Mackenzie. His grandfather, Richard Anderson, served in the revolutionary war as an officer in the Maryland Line. Anderson’s early schooling was at Edge Hill Academy in Sumter District. At age seventeen he entered the U.S. Military Academy, from which he graduated number forty of a class of fifty-six in 1842. He was appointed a brevet second lieutenant in the First Dragoons....

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Archer, James Jay (19 December 1817–24 October 1864), Confederate brigadier general, was born at Stafford in Harford County, Maryland, the fourth son of physician James Archer and Ann Stump. The early career of James Archer is often confused with that of kinsman John Archer, who graduated from West Point. James Archer graduated from Princeton in 1835, obtained an engineering degree in 1838 from Bacon College, studied law under an older brother, and was admitted to the Maryland bar. Though he never married, as a young man Archer was so attractive that his friends called him “Sallie.” He entered the U.S. Army during the Mexican War as a captain of infantry and earned brevet promotion to major for gallantry at the 1847 battle of Chapultepec. He resigned from the army and practiced law until 1855, when he reentered the service. Archer was in command of a post on the Pacific coast at the outbreak of civil war. He resigned from the army and handed over command of his station to Lieutenant ...

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Armistead, Lewis Addison (18 February 1817–04 July 1863), Confederate general, was born in New Bern, North Carolina, the son of Brigadier General Walker Keith Armistead of the U.S. Army and Elizabeth Stanley. George Armistead, Lewis’s uncle, commanded Fort McHenry near Baltimore during its famous defense in 1814. Lewis entered West Point in 1834, finding nothing but trouble there. He barely passed academically in his first year and remained in deep disciplinary difficulties until forced to resign in February 1836 for “imprudence” and “disorderly conduct.” Tradition has it that the final straw came when Armistead broke a mess-hall plate on the head of fellow cadet ...

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Ashby, Turner (23 October 1828–06 June 1862), Confederate cavalry leader, was born on the family farm in Fauquier County, Virginia, the son of Turner Ashby (Sr.) and Dorothea Green. He was the grandson of noted revolutionary war soldier Captain “Jack” Ashby. Educated privately, Turner Ashby spent the pre–Civil War years in farming and operating a mercantile business in the village of Markham. In October 1859 abolitionist ...

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Barksdale, William (21 August 1821–03 July 1863), congressman and Confederate officer, was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, the son of William Barksdale and Nancy Hervey Lester, farmers. He was educated in the local schools and briefly attended the University of Nashville. After his father’s death, William and his three brothers moved in 1837 to Mississippi, where they began separate careers. William settled near Columbus, read law, was admitted to the bar, and invested in land and a small number of slaves before he was twenty-five years old. During the Mexican War, he was appointed captain and served as a commissary officer under General ...

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Barringer, Rufus (02 December 1821–03 February 1895), soldier, was born in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, the son of Paul Barringer and Elizabeth Brandon. During the War of 1812, his father had attained the rank of brigadier general of militia. After attending preparatory school at Sugar Creek Academy, Barringer entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which he graduated in 1842. Following graduation he studied law with his brother, Moreau Barringer, then with Richmond Pearson, the future chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and subsequently opened a practice in Concord, North Carolina. He belonged to the Whig political party and won election to the state assembly in 1848 and 1850. In 1860 he was made a political elector....

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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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Battle, Cullen Andrews (01 June 1829–08 April 1905), politician and soldier, was born in Powelton, Georgia, the son of Cullen Battle, a wealthy planter, and Jane A. Lamon. He moved with his parents to Irwinton (now Eufaula), Alabama, in 1836. After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1850, he studied law with John G. Shorter, who was later state governor, and was admitted to the bar in 1852. Battle soon entered a partnership with former Alabama chief justice William P. Chilton. The year before his admittance to the bar he married Georgia F. Williams, with whom he had four children....

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P. G. T. Beauregard. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-34418).

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Beauregard, Pierre Gustave Toutant (28 May 1818–20 February 1893), soldier, was born at “Contreras,” his family’s plantation in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, the son of Jacques Toutant-Beauregard, a planter, and Helene Judith de Reggio. At age eight he was sent to a private school in New Orleans for three years, and for four years after that he attended the French School, a private institution in New York City. Beauregard entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1834 and graduated second in the class of 1838. Commissioned a second lieutenant of engineers, he worked on various fortifications in Florida and in his native state during the years prior to the Mexican War. In 1841 Beauregard married Marie Laure Villere; they had two sons. Laure died in March 1850, giving birth to a daughter....

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Belo, Alfred Horatio (27 May 1839–19 April 1901), Confederate soldier and newspaper manager-publisher, was born in Salem, North Carolina, the son of Frederick Edward Boehlo, a mercantile businessman, and Amanda Fries, both Moravians. (Belo’s ancestors were northern European refugees who had settled in the Piedmont area, where they changed the spelling of the family name to match its English pronunciation.) Belo attended Moravian Boys’ Academy, where for four years he studied Latin, German, and geometry; a year and a half at the Masonic Institute at Germantown; and three years at the school of Dr. Alexander Wilson, a Presbyterian minister and cultural scholar, in Alamance County (N.C.). Instead of attending college, Belo succeeded his ailing father in the management of his general merchandise store, linseed oil mill, iron foundry, and roughly 450-acre farm....

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Benning, Henry Lewis (02 April 1814–10 July 1875), soldier and jurist, was born in Columbia County, Georgia, the son of Pleasant Moon Benning and Malinda Meriwether White, planters. In 1834 he graduated with honors from the University of Georgia, Athens. Soon afterward he moved to Columbus, where he was admitted to the bar. Barely two years after entering upon his profession, Benning was appointed solicitor general for his judicial circuit. In 1839 he married Mary Howard Jones, daughter of a prominent Columbus attorney with whom Benning formed a partnership. They had ten children....

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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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Braxton Bragg. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-23254).