James Harvey Carson

James Harvey Carson, brigadier general of Virginia militia, was born on February 11, 1808, at Pleasant Green, the family estate near Winchester, Virginia. His father, Simon Carson, was a farmer and militia officer; his mother was Martha Williams, whose father originally owned Pleasant Green. At the age of eighteen Carson became an assistant teacher at the Winchester Academy. Carson then studied law and soon became a prominent Winchester attorney and agriculturist. In 1837 he was elected colonel of militia. Active politically, Carson served as Frederick County's state representative from 1844 to 1847 and state senator from 1859 to 1864.

In early 1861 Carson, brigadier general of the 16th Brigade of the Virginia Militia since 1859, called his unit into service. The brigade occupied Harpers Ferry, then guarded the Shenandoah Valley while General Joseph E. Johnston's Confederate army marched to the Bull Run battlefield. By August, 1861, Carson commanded the 3rd Division of militia—2,883 strong—in the upper (northern) Shenandoah Valley. On January 2, 1862, Carson and his old brigade joined Stonewall Jackson's small army as it advanced from Winchester on Bath and Romney. The next day Carson's troops were detached from the main body to attack the Union-held town of Bath from the west while Jackson attacked from the east. The town fell to Jackson the next day; Carson's militia could not arrive in time to take part in the capture. Carson's brigade remained in Bath, in winter quarters, while the rest of the army attacked Romney. On February 1, 1862, Carson forsook the campaign field for the legislative wars. His military performance left something to be desired; one observer called him "a most estimable gentleman, but not suited for the time and the exigencies of the moment." In 1862 Carson, "an intelligent, amiable, kind-hearted Christian gentleman,"' was elected president of the Virginia Senate. In April, 1864, he resigned his senate seat and went back to farming.

After the war Carson remained active in law and real estate, first in Frederick County and then in Leesburg, Virginia. He died at Leesburg on January 13, 1884, and is buried in the Carson graveyard at Pleasant Green.

General Carson's command of a brigade of militia that served in a campaign qualifies him to be considered a Confederate general.

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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.