Jesse Johnson Finley

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

Jesse Johnson Finley was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, November 18, 1812, and educated at Lebanon. After service as captain in the Seminole outbreak of 1836, he pursued the study of law and was admitted to the bar. Finley changed his residence several times antebellum, and in the space of ten years, served in the legislatures of Arkansas and Florida and as mayor of Memphis, Tennessee. Meanwhile he continued his law practice. Elevated to the Florida bench in 1852, he was appointed Confederate district judge for the state in 1861, but resigned to enter the army as a private in April 1862. Soon promoted to colonel of the 6th Florida Infantry, he took part in the Kentucky campaign under General Kirby Smith and was present at Chickamauga the following year. Commissioned brigadier general from November 16, 1863, and assigned to the command of the Florida infantry regiments in the Army of Tennessee, Finley led his brigade with great credit at Chattanooga and in the Atlanta campaign. He was twice severely wounded, and was incapacitated for further field duty after the battle of Jonesboro. After the war General Finley served a part of three contested terms in the national House of Representatives, and in 1887, was refused a seat in the United States Senate because of a technicality. He died in Lake City, Florida, November 6, 1904, and is buried in Gainesville.

Previous Page

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