James Zachariah George

James Zachariah George was born on October 20, 1826, in Monroe County, Georgia, the son of Joseph W. and Mary (Chamblis) George. His father died during his infancy. In 1834 the family moved to Noxubee County, Mississippi, and two years later settled in Carrollton in Carroll County. George enlisted as a private in the 1st Mississippi for the Mexican War, seeing action at the Battle of Monterrey. Discharged for ill health, he returned to Mississippi, studied law, and was admitted to the Carroll County bar. His success at the bar was rapid. In 1854 George was elected reporter to the Mississippi Supreme Court, and held this prestigious post until the start of the war.

Elected to the Mississippi Secession Convention, George voted for and signed that state's ordinance of secession. He was elected lieutenant, then captain (July 15, 1861) of Company C, 20th Mississippi Infantry. The 20th participated in the northwest Virginia campaigns of 1861. Transferred back to the west, the regiment was sent to Fort Donelson, Tennessee. The fort's garrison surrendered on February 16, 1862, to General U. S. Grant's investing forces. George was imprisoned in the North for the next seven months. Upon exchange, Governor Pettus of Mississippi appointed George a brigadier general of state troops, to serve until George's health improved. George headed up a slim brigade of state troops stationed in northern Mississippi, aiding Confederate cavalry in repelling Union cavalry raids. In March, 1863, Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman arrested the indignant George for refusing to obey an order that would compromise the dignity of the state troops. The charges were soon dropped. Upon regaining his health George was elected colonel of the newly formed 5th Mississippi Cavalry. In his first battle at the head of the 5th (November 3, 1863; four days after being elected colonel), George was captured while leading a charge on Collierville, Tennessee. One authority has it that "Col George, with a gallantry disregarding caution, dashed on ahead of his men and fell into the hands of the enemy."  George was kept a prisoner at the Johnson's Island, Ohio, federal prison for the balance of the war.

General George's postwar career was most distinguished. He entered into law partnership in 1872 with Wiley Harris to form the state's premier practice and moved to the state capital of Jackson. George became the chairman of the state Democratic party and in 1879 was appointed chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court. A prominent "Bourbon" Democrat and constitutional lawyer, George was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1880 and won reelection in 1886 and 1892. He rose to the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. General George died on August 14, 1897, in Mississippi City, Mississippi, where he had gone to recover his health, and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Carrollton.

Genetal George'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.