James Edward Rains
(1833-1862)

Brigadier General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

Previous Page

Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.  http://www.archives.alabama.gov/conoffalb/index.html

James Edwards Rains was born at Nashville, Tennessee, April 10, 1833. He was graduated from Yale Law School at the age of twenty-one, and began practice in Nashville. In 1858 he was elected city attorney, and served also as associate editor of the Nashville Banner. He was in 1860 elected district attorney general for the counties of Davidson, Williamson, and Sumner. Enlisting as a private in the 11th Tennessee Infantry at the outbreak of the Civil War, he was elected and commissioned colonel of the regiment on May 10, 1861. During the winter of 1861-62 Rains occupied Cumberland Gap, and was finally flanked out of his position in June 1862. When Kirby Smith advanced into Kentucky he left Stevenson's division, including a brigade under Rains, to operate against the Federal General Morgan in the Gap. For his services in forcing Morgan northward Rains was promoted brigadier general on November 4, 1862. He was assigned to John P. McCown's division of Lieutenant General Hardee's corps during the battle of Murfreesboro. General Rains occupied the extreme left of the Confederate line on December 31, 1862, and was almost instantly killed by a Minie ball while leading his men against a Federal battery. According to tradition, his last words were: "Forward my brave boys, forward!" First buried on the battlefield, General Rains was removed in 1888 to Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, where his remains now lie.

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