The Civil War blog Battlefield Back Stories has a poignant tale of the Bradley brothers, John and George, who were killed at Gettysburg. Both had started out in the Winston Guards of Louisville, Mississippi, as had their younger brother, Joseph, who’d been slain at Malvern Hill the year before.
All three were officers but John Marion Bradley, who began the war as captain of the Winston Guards, had risen the highest, to lieutenant colonel, leading the regiment as second-in-command to Colonel James W. Carter. Carter, originally captain of the Kemper Legion, had replaced Colonel William Barksdale when he was promoted to brigadier general after Malvern Hill. Barksdale commanded the Mississippi brigade of the 13th, 17th, 18th and 21st regiments at Gettysburg.
John Marion was 36, and his elder brother Second Lieutenant George W. Bradley of the Winston Guards was 44 when they died. John Marion was killed leading the regiment from the front beside Col. Carter. George, in front of the Winston Guards, was seriously wounded, left behind when Lee’s army retreated and died a week later. The Guards’ designation as Company A meant it was in the center of the regiment’s battle line.
John Marion, then a major, was commended by General Joseph B. Kershaw in his after-action report on the Battle of Maryland Heights in September, 1862: “…I am much indebted to [the 13th’s] Major Bradley for his brave and efficient handling of our advanced skirmishers….”
Five days later, Bradley would be seriously wounded, shot in both legs, at the Battle of Sharpsburg. Yet he was sufficiently recovered a year later to take part in the 13th Regiment’s share of the famous but fateful charge of Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade on the Union lines at Gettysburg.