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Confederate General Lafayette McLaws

Item CON-10208
Price: $200.00


Major-General Lafayette McLaws was born at Augusta, GA,
January 15, 1821. He was prepared for college in the city
schools, and entered the university of Virginia in 1837.

Before the conclusion of his first year he received
notification of his appointment to a cadetship at West Point,
and accordingly, in 1838, he entered the United States
military academy, where he was graduated four years later.
His first experience in army life was on the frontier. Then
came the Mexican war.

Before the actual opening of hostilities he was sent to the
Texas frontier to join the army of General Taylor. He was
present at the occupation of Corpus Christi, and when Taylor
was on the march to Point Isabel and back, and while he was
fighting the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, the
young lieutenant was assisting in the defense of Fort Brown
(May 3-9, 1846).

He was also engaged at the battle of Monterey and at Vera
Cruz, after which, on account of failing health, he was sent
to the United States on recruiting duty. In the last year of
the war he was employed in convoying trains to the city of

He was afterward on frontier duty, was in the Utah expedition
of 1858, and also engaged in escorting Mormons to California
and in protecting emigrants. In 1851 he was commissioned
captain of infantry, the rank he held when the great civil war

Upon the secession of Georgia, Captain McLaws resigned and
offered his services to his State. He was gladly accepted and
immediately appointed major, C. S. A., May 10, 1861. On June
17, 1861, he was commissioned colonel of the Tenth Georgia
regiment, and on September 25, 1861, was promoted to

His bravery and excellent ability in the discipline and
leadership of soldiers soon won the esteem of his superior
officers. This was especially noticeable at Lee's mill, on
the retreat from Yorktown to Richmond and at the battle of

Accordingly, on May 22, 1862, he was promoted to major-general
in the provisional army of the Confederate States. He proved
that the honor conferred upon him was well deserved by the
manner in which he led his division in the battles of Savage
Station and Malvern Hill.

After the retreat of the Union army from the Virginia
peninsula, his division was left in observation of the
movements of the Federals about Harrison's landing, while Lee,
with the main body of the Confederate army, was on the march
to "bowl over Pope. "

As soon as it was certain that the Union forces had all been
withdrawn to the defense of Washington, McLaws led his
division to rejoin the army of Northern Virginia, then on the
march into Maryland. He had the hardest part of the work to
do at the capture of Harper's Ferry and Maryland heights,
being for the time under the command of Stonewall Jackson.

After the fall of Harper's Ferry, he marched for Sharpsburg
and reached the field just as Jackson and Hood were being
forced back before the overwhelming strength of the enemy.
Throwing his division immediately to the front, and reinforced
soon after by John G. Walker's division, the repulse of the
Federals on the Confederate left was made complete.

At Fredericksburg, one of his brigades (Barksdale's
Mississippians) kept the Federal army from crossing the
Rappahannock until Lee was ready for them to come, and it was
his division that made the magnificent defense of Marye's

At Chancellorsville, he formed the right wing of the
Confederate army, and when Sedgwick, having succeeded in
running over Marye's heights, was advancing upon Lee's rear,
McLaws defeated him at Salem church and forced him to recross
the Rappahannock.

At Gettysburg his division assailed and drove back Sickles in
the second day's fight. He and his troops went with
Longstreet to Georgia in September, 1863, and participated in
the Knoxville campaign.

Against his own judgment he made the assault on Fort Sanders,
by Longstreet's order, and desisted from the attack when he
found success impossible. Longstreet made complaint against
him, but his conduct was justified by the court martial.

In 1864, being placed in command of the district of Georgia,
he opposed Sherman's march through the State as well as
possible with the limited means at his command. He commanded
a division under Hardee at the battle of Averasboro, March 16,
1865, and was afterward sent back to resume command of the
district of Georgia.

The surrender of General Johnston included his command.
General McLaws then went to Augusta and entered the insurance

In 1875 he was appointed collector of internal revenue at
Savannah, afterward postmaster and later postwarden of the
city of Savannah. He continued to reside in that city until
his death in 1898.

Source: Confederate Military History, vol. VII, p. 431