Brig. Gen. Albert G. Blanchard (b. 1810, d. 1891) An early Confederate brigadier general, commissioned Sept. 21, 1861, Albert Gallatin Blanchard saw most of his duties in training duties during the Civil War. Blanchard was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, Sept. 10, 1810. He 26th graduated in the U.S. Military Academy’s Class of 1829. Assigned to frontier duty, Blanchard was a lieutenant with the 3rd Infantry. He resigned his commission in October of 1840 and settled in New Orleans. He was a businessman and taught school there. During the Mexican War, he returned to military duty as a captain of Louisiana volunteers and saw action at Monterrey, Cuernavaca and the siege of Vera Cruz. In 1861, Blanchard joined the Confederate Army as colonel of the 1st Louisiana Infantry, a unit he took to Virginia. There, his regiment was assigned to the division of Brig. Gen. Banjamin Huger. Blanchard was promoted to brigadier general Sept. 21, 1861, and commanded a brigade near Norfolk, Virginia, until the spring of 1862. He was replaced by Brig. Gen. Ambrose Wright in June of 1862, during the Peninsular Campaign. He was moved to command basic training camps for volunteers and conscripts in Virginia and North Carolina before being sent to Louisiana in February of 1863. Blanchard was ordered to report to Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in Alexandria, Louisiana, but was without a command again by August of 1863. Blanchard did not have a command for the rest of the war. At times, he complained to the Confederate War Department. There is evidence that Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor did not feel Blanchard was capable of command. After the war, Blanchard returned to New Orleans, where he was a civil engineer and surveyor for the city. Blanchard died in New Orleans, June 21, 1891, and was buried there in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
Brig. Gen. Samuel Benton (b. 1820, d. 1864) Samuel Benton died as a colonel, but received promotion to brigadier general following his death during the Atlanta Campaign. The nephew of Sen. Thomas Hart Benton had been wounded in fighting around Atlanta July 22, 1864, being hit near the heart with a piece of shell and severely wounded in a foot. Hospitalized, the foot had to be amputated, but it did not prevent Benton’s death, July 28, 1864. Benton, who had been commanding the brigade formerly of Maj. Gen. Edward Walthall (promoted July 6, 1864), still was promoted to brigadier general to rank from July 26, 1864. Benton was born Oct. 18, 1820, likely in Williamson County, Tennessee. A teacher by trade, he settled in Holly Springs, Mississippi, where he became a lawyer and politician. He served Marshall County in the state legislature and represented that county in the secession convention of 1861. Without military experience, Benton enlisted in service, being elected captain of the 9th Mississippi, a 12-month regiment. In 1862, he was elected colonel of the 37th Mississippi. This unit later was reorganized and renamed the 34th Mississippi. He led the 34th Mississippi into the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862. After that, the regiment served mainly in northern Mississippi and middle Tennessee. Early in 1864, he took charge of a small brigade consisting of the 24th and 27th Mississippi regiments fighting in the Army of Tennessee against Maj. Gen. William Sherman’s advance on Atlanta. In early July, when Walthall was promoted, Benton was placed in charge of Walthall’s former brigade, which he led until he was wounded. Benton died July 28, 1864, in a hospital in Griffin, Georgia. Originally buried there, his remains were moved to Holly Springs after the war. His memorial is without any reference to his Confederate military career.
Brig. Gen. John D. Barry (b. 1839, d. 1867) First, it took John Decatur Barry’s full commission as a brigadier general. Nearly two years after the war ended, it took his life. Barry was wounded by a Federal sharpshooter in August of 1864 after earning an appointment as a brigadier general to replace the wounded Brig. Gen. James Lane after the Battle of Cold Harbor. While Barry was out, Lane returned and Barry’s appointment was canceled. Barry’s wound was bad enough to keep him from further field operations and he finished out the war in North Carolina. After the war, Barry became editor of a newspaper in Wilmington, North Carolina, but his old wound caused his health to fail and he died in Wilmington March 24, 1867. He was buried in the Oakdale Cemetery there. Barry’s rise through the Confederate ranks took most of the war. He was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, June 21, 1839 and was educated at the University of North Carolina. At the start of the war, he enlisted in Co. I of the 8th North Carolina Volunteers, which became the 18th North Carolina State Troops. In April of 1862, the regiment was reorganized and he was elected captain of his company. The regiment was part of the brigade of Brig. Gen. Lawrence O. Branch, an element of Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill’s Light Division. After fighting in the Seven Days Campaign, Second Manassas (Bull Run) and Sharpsburg (Antietam), Barry was still in company command. Commended for his performance at Sharpsburg (Antietam), Barry was promoted to major. At Chancellorsville, the 18th also became rather infamous as the unit which wounded Lt. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson May 2, 1863. During action the following day, Barry’s brigade suffered massive casualties among the officer corps to enemy fire and heat. By the end of the battle Barry was leading a large number of men. This drew praise from Brig. Gen. Lane and Barry was promoted to colonel. During the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863, Barry led his brigade as part of Lane’s command in what became known as Pickett’s Charge. Lane’s Brigade attacked Cemetery Hill on the left flank. The brigade was the last to leave the field and suffered 50 percent casualties during the charge. After the army returned to Virginia following the defeat, he was active in all of the army’s campaigns and battles until he was wounded.
Brig. Gen. Rufus Barringer (b. 1821, d. 1895) A Unionist prior to the Civil War and a Republican after the war, Rufus Barringer eschewed his personal beliefs to serve state and country. Barringer was born in Carrabus County, North Carolina, Dec. 2, 1821. An 1842 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Barringer studied law and began a practice in Concord, North Carolina, and was a moderate Whig and believed in the Union. Twice, he was elected to the North Carolina state assembly (1848 and 1850) and he was a presidential elector in 1860. By his first wife, a daughter of Rev. Dr. R.H. Morrison, Barringer was a brother-in-law to two future Confederate generals, Daniel H. Hill and Thomas J. Jackson. When North Carolina left the Union, May 20, 1861, Barringer did what he could to help his new nation. He enlisted in the Confederate Army and entered as captain of the 1st North Carolina Cavalry. This unit was assigned to the Army of Northern Virginia as part of the famed cavalry of J.E.B. Stuart. Barringer gained a reputation as an aggressive leader who could hold his position without taking foolish chances. Barringer was wounded in the face (the first of three wounds he would suffer) at the Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863, but still earned praise for his conduct from Brig. Gen. Wade Hampton. Barringer was promoted to major August 26, 1863 and then elevated to lieutenant colonel in October. When Brig. Gen. James B. Gordon was killed in May of 1864, Barringer was boosted to command a brigade of North Carolina cavalry in Maj. Gen. W.H.F. Lee’s division. He received his appointment by June 1, 1864. He briefly commanded a division at the Battle of Reams’s Station, Aug. 25, 1864. Barringer’s brigade had the important task of covering the army’s retreat from Richmond. He was captured in this role April 3, 1865. He was a prisoner at Fort Delaware until July of 1865. After the war, Barringer returned to his estate, “Poplar Grove” and espoused Reconstruction policies. He became a Republican and supported black suffrage. In retirement, Barringer wrote about history, mostly about the war. He died there Feb. 3, 1895.
Brig. Gen. Laurence S. Baker (b. 1830, d. 1907) Also known as “Lawrence” through a War Department error, Laurence Simmons Baker rose to brigadier general in cavalry by the middle of the war. Born in Gates County, North Carolina, Baker received education at the U.S. Military Academy, where he graduated 42nd in the Class of 1851. Assigned to duty with mounted infantry as a second lieutenant, Baker advanced to captain by the time he resigned his commission May 10, 1861. While he was personally opposed to secession, Baker was loyal to his state. He received a commission as a Confederate lieutenant colonel to date from March 16, 1861. He became known for his strict discipline while in charge of the 1st North Carolina Cavalry. In the spring of 1862, Baker was elevated to colonel and his regiment was sent to Virginia. Baker’s command served in the Peninsular Campaign and the Seven Days Campaign. In the latter, which pushed the Federals away from Richmond, Baker’s unit drove back Federal cavalry on the Charles City Road June 29, 1862. The 1st North Carolina Cavalry was assigned to the brigade of Brig. Gen. Wade Hampton. The regiment was honored for bravery at Second Manassas (Bull Run) and Sharpsburg (Antietam). When Hampton was wounded at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, Baker assumed command of the regiment and led it back to Virginia with action at Hagerstown, Maryland, and Falling Waters, Maryland. For that, Baker was promoted to brigadier general to rank from July 23, 1863. Days later, July 31, 1863, Baker’s brigade opposed a Federal advance across the Rappahannock River toward Brandy Station. Baker was severely wounded in the right arm during the action. He was personally commended by Gen. Robert E. Lee for his role in the combat. Recovering, Baker was assigned to departmental command in North Carolina in June of 1864. He briefly led a brigade of reserves in South Carolina. At the end of the war, Baker was back with his original command, which now was with Gen. Joseph Johnston’s Army of Tennessee. Detached at the time of the surrender, Baker’s unit disbanded. He received a parole in Raleigh, North Carolina, in May of 1865. After the war, Baker became a farmer and later settled in Suffolk, Virginia, where he was a railroad station agent. He died in Suffolk April 10, 1907, and was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery there.
Brig. Gen. Alpheus Baker (b. 1828, d. 1891) Advancing from private to brigadier general, Alpheus Baker saw everything in the Civil War. He was captured, exchanged, wounded and recovered. Somehow, Baker managed to be active at the end of the war and even was responsible for one of the Confederate Army’s final positives as his men captured 204 Federals during the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, March 19-21, 1865. Baker was born in Abbeville District, South Carolina May 28, 1828. Educated by his father, he was teaching school by the time he turned 16. He moved to Eufaula, Alabama, in 1848, and studied law. In 1849, Baker was admitted to the Alabama bar. He was picked to represent Barbour County at the state’s constitutional convention, but instead joined the Eufaula Rifles as a private. As a soldier in the 1st Alabama Infantry, Baker first reported to Pensacola, Florida, and was elected captain. In November of 1861, Baker was sent to Tennessee as colonel of mixed regiment of Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi troops. His first action came around Island No. 10, where he was captured in battle there April 7-8, 1862. Exchanged, he led the 54th Alabama Infantry in the Vicksburg Campaign. At Champion’s Hill, May 1, 1863, Baker was wounded. Baker returned to receive a promotion to brigadier general, May 5, 1864, and took over a brigade in the Army of Tennessee. He served through the Atlanta Campaign, receiving praise for his brigade’s performance at Resaca. He again was wounded at the Battle of Ezra Church, July 28, 1864. After that, he was reassigned to the Department of the Gulf. In January of 1865, Baker’s command was brought back to the Army of Tennessee during the Carolinas Campaign. After the war, Baker resumed his law practice. In 1878, Baker moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he lived for the rest of his life. He died there Oct. 2, 1891, and was buried in Louisville.