Alfred Alexander Russell
Alfred Alexander Russell was born
in 1827 in Jackson County, Alabama, the son of Lorenzo Dow and Eleanore (Duncan)
Russell. The Russell family, prominent in the Doran's Cove area of Jackson
County, was descended from Revolutionary War veteran Thomas Russell. Young
Russell served in the Mexican War as a private in the Alabama militia. After
that war he settled in Stevenson, Alabama, and practiced medicine there until
the start of the Civil War.
Elected major of the 7th Alabama Infantry on May 18,1861, Russell and the 7th served in the garrison at Pensacola, Florida, until their twelve-month enlistments expired. He then was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 15th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. The 15th was combined with four Alabama companies of Bedford Forrest's command to form the 4th Alabama Cavalry, of which, on November 23, 1862, Russell was commissioned colonel. It was said that "Russell's 4th Alabama was justly ranked as one of the best cavalry regiments in the service" under its "brave, grim doctor." Russell participated in Forrest's west Tennessee raid of 1862, distinguishing himself for gallantry at the Battle of Lexington. In February, 1863, the 4th was transferred from Forrest's command to Wheeler's cavalry corps of the Army of Tennessee, much to the regret of General Forrest. In the Battle of Chickamauga, the Sequatchie raid, and the east Tennessee campaign, Russell commanded a brigade of Alabama cavalry in Major General Will T. Martin's division. On October 12, 1863, General Martin wrote Richmond requesting that Russell be promoted to brigadier general. Martin praised Russell as "cool in action... of fine judgment... possessing the confidence of his officers... a strict disciplinarian"—and, unlike Martin's other colonels, "temperate." However, one of the other colonels was promoted instead. During the Atlanta campaign Russell again led the 4th. In Hood's invasion of Tennessee Russell and the 4th guarded Hood's rear along the Tennessee River Valley. In 1865 Russell rejoined General Forrest, now in command of the cavalry of Mississippi and Alabama, and participated in the unsuccessful defense of Selma, Alabama. He was wounded twice during the war.
When the war ended Russell refused to take the oath of allegiance. After a short period hiding out in a cave in Jackson County, he fled to Mexico, settling near Cordova. Dr. Russell prospered in Mexico as a physician and owner of a coffee plantation. Several times he returned to Stevenson to visit friends, the last time in 1890, but never returned to the U.S. Family history states that he died in one of the endemic Mexican revolutions. A former subordinate, writing in 1914, states that Russell died a "couple years" before.
CV and SHSP have Russell appointed brigadier general from Alabama in 1864-SHSP says he was appointed as brigade commander. His superiors repeatedly recommended Colonel Russell for promotion. However, Russell is referred to in the OR as colonel as late as February 20, 1865.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.