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Leonidas Polk. In ecclesiastical vestments. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-3826).


Polk, Leonidas (10 April 1806–14 June 1864), clergyman and army officer, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of William Polk, a revolutionary war veteran and prosperous planter, and Sarah Hawkins. He entered the University of North Carolina in 1821 but left for West Point in 1823. Despite an alleged cheating incident, he graduated eighth in the class of 1827. Having professed faith in Christianity, he resigned his commission shortly thereafter and entered Virginia Theological Seminary. In 1830 he married Frances Ann Devereux, daughter of a wealthy North Carolina planter. The union produced eight children....