Basil Wilson Duke

Brigadier General

Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

Headstones: Find-a-Grave

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Basil Wilson Duke was born in Scott County, Kentucky, May 28, 1838, and was educated at Centre College and Transylvania University Law School. The outbreak of war found him a member of the legal profession in St. Louis, where he warmly espoused the Southern cause and took a prominent part in the secession movement of the state. Duke then enlisted as a private in the Lexington Rifles, the company of his brother-in-law, John Hunt Morgan; and he was soon elected 2nd lieutenant. When this unit became a part of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry he was appointed lieutenant colonel and later colonel. Taking a conspicuous part in all the operations of Morgan's command, Duke was captured during the celebrated raid into Ohio and Indiana and was a prisoner of war for more than a year. After his exchange he commanded in Eastern Kentucky and Western Virginia, and was promoted brigadier general to rank from September 15, 1864. In the closing days his brigade acted as escort to Jefferson Davis and the fugitive Confederate government. After the war General Duke had a distinguished career as lawyer, legislator, author,and editor. His own Reminiscences and his Morgan's Cavalry rank high as charming and reliable accounts of the period. He was also a commissioner of Shiloh National Military Park from 1895 until his death in New York City, September 16, 1916. He is buried in Lexington, Kentucky. Mrs. Duke's sister was the wife of General A. P. Hill; her brother was John Hunt Morgan.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.