Francis Marion Walker

Francis Marion Walker was born on November 12, 1827, in Paris, Kentucky, the son of John and Tabitha (Taylor) Walker. His mother died when Francis was young, and in 1843 the family moved to Hawkins County in east Tennessee, where his father operated a tavern. Walker received a meager education at local schools. Like many bright, ambitious, but impoverished young men of the time, Walker taught school part-time, both to further his education and to earn enough money to go to college and become a lawyer.

Ehrring the Mexican War Walker was elected second lieutenant of the 5th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. The regiment was sent to Mexico, but the war ended before it saw action. Upon discharge from the army, Walker entered Transylvania University, from which he graduated in 1850 with honors. Returning to east Tennessee, he opened a law practice in Rogersville. He relocated in Chattanooga in 1854 and practiced law there until 1861. Walker's prewar legal career was most distinguished and included stints as Chattanooga alderman (from 1858 to 1859) and attorney general of the state's Fourth District (from 1860 till the start of the war).

During the secession crisis Walker, an ardent Unionist, delivered Union speeches throughout east Tennessee. But when Tennessee joined the Confederacy, he took up arms in the state's defense. Walker entered Confederate service as captain of the "Marsh Blues," Company I of the 19th Tennessee Infantry, a Hamilton County unit. Swiftly promoted to lieutenant colonel (June 11, 1861), Walker fought at the Battles of Mill Springs and Shiloh. At the latter his regiment won a reputation as the "bloody 19th," and Walker was praised for his gallantry. Elected colonel on May 8, 1862, Walker led the 19th at the Battles of Stone's River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga. During the Atlanta campaign he won further laurels as "an officer of great distinction, of exalted character," particularly at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, where the entrenched Tennesseans slaughtered a Union assault column. He was repeatedly recommended for promotion by Brigadier General Otho F. Strahl, his brigade commander, and Lieutenant General William Hardee, the corps commander, among others. When Brigadier General George Maney, who commanded another Tennessee brigade in the same division, was elevated to divisional command, Walker and the 19th were transferred from Strahl's brigade to Maney's so that Walker could take command of Maney's old brigade. Colonel Walker was killed at the Battle of Atlanta on June 22, 1864, while leading the brigade in a desperate assault. It is said that his commission as brigadier general, won at Kennesaw Mountain, anived on the day following his death. Walker's remains were removed from the field and taken to Griffin, Georgia, where they were interred in Citizens Cemetery. In 1889 the body was brought to Chattanooga and reburied in a family plot in Forest Hills Cemetery.

Walker is termed brigadier general, on the basis of this posthumous promotion, in the Tennessee volume of CMH, although he is not given a biography in the same volume's section on Tennessee generals.

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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.