James Phillip Simms

Monument: Find-a-Grave

James Phillip Simms was born at Covington, Georgia, January 16, 1837. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was practicing law in that city. The date of his enlistment in the Confederate Army is in doubt. He first appears in the records as nominated to the grade of major, 53rd Georgia Infantry, on September 24, 1862. The first field service of this regiment had been during the Seven Days battles as a part of General John B. Magruder's command. Simms was presumably present with the 53rd at Second Manassas and Sharpsburg. He fought at Fredericksburg as colonel in command, and his regiment captured the colors of the 2nd Rhode Island at Salem Church the following May. Simms participated in the Gettysburg campaign, accompanied Longstreet to the West and was present at Knoxville, and fought throughout the Overland campaign of 1864. Transferred to the Shenandoah Valley in Kershaw's division, he commanded Goode Bryan's brigade after the latter's resignation in September, and was greatly distinguished at Cedar Creek. Returning to Petersburg, he took part in the siege of that fall and winter. He was promoted to brigadier general from December 8, 1864. During the retreat from Richmond he was captured, along with his division commander and a number of other general officers, at Sayler's Creek, on April 6, 1865. He was released from Fort Warren on July 24. General Simms then returned to Covington, where he resumed his law practice and resided until his death, May 30, 1887. In 1865-66 and again in 1877 he was a member of the Georgia state legislature. He is buried in Covington.

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

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