John Buchanan Floyd

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.

John Buchanan Floyd was born at "Smithfield," Montgomery County, Virginia, June 1, 1806, and was graduated from South Carolina College in 1829. He had a most remarkable, if controversial, career. A lawyer by profession, he lost a large fortune and his health in a cotton-planting venture in Arkansas. He was elected to the Virginia house of delegates in 1847, and governor of the state in 1848, serving until 1852. As a reward for Floyd's political activities in the state election of 1855, President Buchanan appointed him his Secretary of War in 1857, a post which he occupied until his resignation on December 29, 1860. This was precipitated by the refusal of Buchanan to order Major Anderson back from Fort Sumter to Fort Moultrie. Floyd was subsequently bitterly criticized in the North for alleged transfer of unwarranted numbers of arms from Northern to Southern arsenals, and for the substitution of his own acceptances to War Department contractors for a large sum of Indian Trust bonds in the Interior Department. Commissioned a Confederate brigadier on May 23, 1861, he served in the West Virginia campaign under General R. E. Lee, and was then ordered to Fort Donelson. His transfer of the command to General Pillow, and his escape with his own troops prior to the surrender of the work, caused his removal by Jefferson Davis, without a court of inquiry, on March 11, 1862. He was commissioned a major general of Virginia state troops, but his health soon broke and he died near Abingdon, Virginia, August 26, 1863, and was buried there.

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