Henry Kyd Douglas

Henry Kyd Douglas, brigade commander, memoirist, and staff officer of Stonewall Jackson, was born on September 29, 1838, in Ireland, the son of Reverend Robert and Mary (Robertson) Douglas. The family, when Douglas was young, settled in Shepherdstown, Virginia (now West Virginia), close to the Antietam battlefield. Douglas graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in July, 1858. After teaching school in Hagerstown, Maryland, for a short time, Douglas embarked on a legal career. He studied law in Lexington, Virginia, and was admitted to the bar in 1860. Douglas practiced his profession in St. Louis, Missouri, until Virginia seceded.

Enlisting as a private in Company B of the 2nd Virginia Infantry, Douglas fought in the ranks at the First
Battle of Bull Run. Promoted to second lieutenant after that battle, Douglas transferred to General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's staff. He served as assistant adjutant general of Jackson's command through the fall of 1862. Promoted to captain in November, 1862, he rejoined his old company and led it at the Battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Promoted to major in May, 1863, he joined Major General "Allegheny" Johnson's division as divisional assistant adjutant general. Douglas was wounded and captured at the Battle of Gettysburg while leading a charge on the Union right flank at Culp's Hill. Exchanged in March, 1864, Douglas was posted back as assistant adjutant general on the staffs of Generals Johnson, John B. Gordon, and Jubal Early, serving throughout the Wilderness, Petersburg, and Shenandoah Valley campaigns of 1864 and 1865. In March, 1865, Major Douglas was put in command of Brigadier General James Walker's Virginia brigade, leading it through to the surrender of Appomattox. Douglas was wounded no less than six times during the war.

Immediately after the war Douglas returned to Shepherdstown. The local Union military authorities arrested him for treason and parole violation, all because Douglas wore his Confederate uniform in public. Convicted of violation of military orders, Douglas was sent to prison for two months. Released from Fort Delaware Prison in August, Douglas settled in Winchester, Virginia, and practiced law there. By 1878 he had moved to HagerstoAvn, Maryland, where he prospered as a lawyer. A fellow attorney called him "the most gallant and handsomest gentleman of the Maryland bar and one of its foremost orators." Douglas, a "Bourbon" Democrat, made an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1888, and in 1891 he was appointed associate judge of the Fourth Circuit. In 1892 he was appointed Maryland's adjutant general, serving four years in that post. Douglas died in Hagerstown of tuberculosis on December 18,1903. He is buried in Shepherdstown's Elmwood Cemetery. I Rode With Stonewall, his memoirs of war service, remains one of the two or three best personal accounts of the war.

Douglas' memoirs note that in 1865, as adjutant general of Walker's brigade, he was promised command of the brigade and a brigadier general's rank when Walker was promoted to divisional command. Walker was in fact put in charge of a division during the last month of the war. Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, who had served with Douglas in the Shenandoah Valley campaign, evidently recommended Douglas for promotion to brigadier general, but Richmond fell before the promotion could go through channels and the commission could be issued. Warner's Generals in Gray mentions Douglas as one officer who was often termed "general" postbellum. However, Douglas' highest substantive Confederate rank was major.

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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.