Alexander Caldwell Jones

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Alexander Caldwell Jones was born in 1830 near Moundsville in Marshall County, Virginia (now West Virginia), across the river from Ohio. His fathet, Garrison Jones, was a hotel owner and state representative; his mother was Martha Houston. Jones graduated from VMI in 1850, then studied law. Attracted to the new Minnesota Territory, Jones removed to St. Paul in 1852. He quickly was elected district attorney and then Ramsey County probate judge (1854 to 1858). In 1858 Jones was appointed Minnesota's adjutant general, with the rank of brigadier general. Serving two years in that post, by 1860 Jones was a dealer in farm implements in St. Paul.

Jones had been living in the North seven years when Virginia seceded. He nonetheless loyally returned to his native state to fight for the South. Commissioned major of the 44th Virginia on June 14, 1861, he was not present when the 44th was routed at Rich Mountain on July 11 of that year. During the winter of 1861 Jones commanded a portion of Brigadier General Edward Johnson's forces defending Allegheny Mountain. Jones was then detached from the 44th (to the regret of Stonewall Jackson, a hard man to please, who regarded Jones as "an officer who has inspired me with great confidence") to command partisan units in northwestern Virginia. Jones was commissioned lieutenant colonel on May 1, 1862, and rejoined the 44th (part of Jackson's Valley army) in time to participate in the Seven Days' Battles. Jones suffered a serious wound at the Battle of Gaines Mill, which limited his active duty. After convalescing he was ordered to report to the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office on December 22, 1862, and later served in the Bureau of Conscription. On June 16, 1863, Jones resigned his commission in the 44th. At his own request, Jones was then transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department. He served on the staffs of Generals Slaughter, Walker, and Magruder as inspector general and chief of staff. From being Magruder's chief of staff Jones was assigned command, as colonel, to the Eastern Division of the Western Sub-District of Texas, and then to command a brigade of Texas infantry. General Kirby Smith, department commander, requested (on March 16, 1865) that Richmond promote Jones to general of the PACS. There is no evidence that the president made the appointment. However, Jones was paroled at Brownsville, Texas, July 24, 1865, as brigadier general.

Jones fled to Mexico after the war and served in Emperor Maximilian's army until the downfall of the empire. Returning to the states, he settled in Wheeling, West Virginia, living with his wife's family. By 1869 Jones had become the managing editor of the National Intelligencer, a once-influential Washington newspaper that died that year. In 1880 Jones was appointed U.S. consul in Nagasaki, Japan. In 1886, he was transferred to the China embassy, serving there eleven years. General Jones died at his post in Chungking, China, on January 13, 1898.

SHSP, Wood, and CV list Jones as a general. Both his parole and a July 19, 1865, Union pass show him as a Confederate brigadier. The clear implication is that General Kirby Smith, in an unrecorded order, assigned Jones to duty as a general. The assignment would have had to come after May 15, 1865, since Jones called himself a colonel in an order on that date.

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Reference:  More Generals in Gray.  Bruce S. Allardice.  A companion volume to Generals in Gray.  Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.