Gilbert Jefferson Wright

Gilbert Jefferson Wright was born on February 18, 1825, near Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County, Georgia, the son of Littlebury and Henrietta (Austin) Wright. Educated in the local schools of that county, Wright grew up into a massive six foot four inch giant. Upon the outbreak of the Mexican War, he enlisted as a private in Company A of the 1st Georgia Infantry. Wright participated in several battles and was wounded in the neck. He recovered from the wound and rejoined the regiment, but was left with a stiff neck for the rest of his life. After the war ended, he returned to Georgia, read law, and in 1848 was admitted to the bar. Settling in Albany, Georgia, Wright soon built up a lucrative practice. By no means an orator, his "unique personality .. . vigorous intellect and . . . untiring energy," it was said, "made a remarkable impression upon all with whom he come into contact."

In 1861 Wright helped organize the "Albany Hussars," later Company D of the cavalry battalion of Cobb's Georgia Legion. The legion joined Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and was attached to a cavalry brigade commanded successively by Brigadier Generals Wade Hampton and Pierce M. B. Young. Commissioned lieutenant on August 10, 1861, captain in 1862, and major in 1863, "Gid" Wright fought in all the early battles in Virginia. His "bulldog courage" and "stentorian voice" were conspicuous on many a battlefield. One source relates that "he was seriously wounded several times, but before his wounds ever healed he would be again on the field of battle." On October 9, 1863, he was made colonel of the legion (renamed the 9th Georgia Cavalry on July 11, 1864). Upon the May 30, 1864, wounding of General Pierce M. B. Young, Wright as senior colonel took command of Young's brigade of Georgia cavalry. He led this brigade off and on throughout 1864 and 1865. Wright's conduct at the June 11 and 12, 1864, Battle of Trevilian Station won the praise of the cavalry corps commander. In January, 1865, the brigade was transferred to South Carolina to oppose the advance of Major General William T. Sherman's Union army. At the Battle of Monroe's Crossroads, North Carolina, on March 10, 1865, Wright's brigade led the surprise attack on the Union cavalry. His troopers barely missed capturing the Union commander in his bed. The war ended for Wright with the Aptil 26, 1865, surrender of the Army of Tennessee at Greensboro, North Carolina.

After the war Wright returned to Albany and the practice of law. An active Democrat and Reconstruction opponent, he served as mayor of Albany from 1866 to 1869. From 1875 to 1880 he served as judge of the Albany Circuit. Retiring in 1880, his health failing, Wright removed to near Forsyth in Monroe County, Georgia. There he engaged in farming until his death on June 3, 1895. He is buried in the Town Cemetery, Forsyth.

CV has Wright appointed brigadier general from Georgia in 1864- SHSP has him "acting brigadier general" of Young's brigade. One source said that a commission as brigadier general was mailed to him, but that in the rush of the last months of the war Wright failed to receive it.

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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.