Elisha Franklin Paxton

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

Elisha Franklin "Bull" Paxton was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, March 4, 1828. He was graduated from Washington College in 1845, and from Yale two years later; he then studied law at the University of Virginia. After being admitted to the bar, he practiced for some years in Ohio before opening an office in Lexington, Virginia, in 1854. He abandoned his profession in 1859 because of failing eyesight. He was living on his estate near Lexington at the outbreak of war, and went into the army as a lieutenant of the Rockbridge Rifles, which later became part of the 27th Virginia Infantry. Paxton took part in the battle of First Manassas, and during the campaigns of 1862, was a member of the staff of Stonewall Jackson with rank of major and assistant adjutant general. On Jackson's recommendation he was, on November 1, 1862, promoted over the heads of all the regimental commanders to brigadier general, and assigned to the command of the Stonewall Brigade. This selection met with a mixed reception and resulted in at least one resignation. General Paxton led his brigade in but two battles, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. His command was not in the fight on the first day of Chancellorsville, having been left to guard a road junction. Deployed in line that night, the brigade was advancing shortly after daylight the following morning, May 3, 1863, when he was almost instantly killed by a Minnie ball while he was in the front line. General Paxton was temporarily buried in the yard of the house in which Jackson later died; his remains now lie in Lexington within a few feet of his old commander.

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

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