James Ronald Chalmers
(1831-1898)

Brigadier General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

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

James Ronald Chalmers was born in Halifax County, Virginia, January 11, 1831, and was graduated from South Carolina College at the age of twenty. Taking up the practice of law in Holly Springs, Mississippi, he served as district attorney and was a member of the secession convention which took Mississippi out of the Union in 1861. He was appointed colonel of the 9th Mississippi Infantry and commanded at Pensacola, Florida, for a time. He was promoted brigadier general on February 13, 1862, and fought at Shiloh in the division of General Withers. He led his brigade in the invasion of Kentucky under General Bragg and at the battle of Murfreesboro, after which he was transferred to the cavalry. Commanding the District of Mississippi and East Louisiana in 1863, he was given a division under General Forrest the following year, which took a brilliant part in the subsequent operations in North Mississippi, Kentucky, and West Tennessee, including Hood's 1864 campaign. After the surrender General Chalmers became prominent in the Reconstruction politics of Mississippi. He represented his adopted state three times in Congress, and was an unsuccessful candidate on three other occasions. Each time the returns were contested either by Chalmers or by his opponent. In 1888 he retired and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he practiced law until his death, April 9, 1898. Distinctly an individualist, his relations with Forrest were not always completely harmonious, although his ability and gallantry were unquestioned. General Chalmers is buried in Memphis.

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