Gen. William Barksdale

This apparently is his Congressional photograph. None in his gold-braided uniform seem to have survived, or else you might expect the Columbus, MS SCV camp named for him to have one. Variously described as being appointed or elected colonel of the Thirteenth at Corinth in 1861.

It was a step down from his brigadier general rank as, first, adjutant general and, later, quartermaster general, of the Mississippi Militia, for the state’s new Confederate government—after his resignation from Congress. But, then, he was known for joining the infantry fighting (sleeves rolled up, waving a sword) in the Mexican War when he had also been a quartermaster. He owned 36 slaves, according to the federal 1860 slave schedules census.

Was he on horseback at Gettysburg (Pfanz, The Second Day) or on foot (Shaara, The Killer Angels)? Take your pick. I like him running, long, wispy-white hair flowing, sword waving high, straight into the billowing powder smoke (the fog of war) and the bullets and cannonball that killed him.

Officially, he was a soldier’s general. In their diaries and letters, his troops had harsher opinions of him: A tyrant, a despot, a flatterer. Also a drunkard, who was more adept with profanity and false accusation than a sword. More on all that later.

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About Dick Stanley

Retired daily newspaperman
This entry was posted in Battles: Gettysburg, Gen. William Barksdale. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Gen. William Barksdale

  1. Pingback: Barksdale arrested | 13TH MISSISSIPPI INFANTRY REGIMENT

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