John Coleman Reid

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John Coleman Reid was born on December 6, 1824, in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, the son of Thomas and Mary (Coleman) Reid. The father, of Irish descent, was a North Carolina native and a wealthy planter. The family removed to Memphis in 1830, and young Reid received his education there. At the age of nineteen he began the study of law and in 1843 was admitted to the bar of Jackson, Tennessee. Reid practiced at Purdy, Tennessee; Kingston, Tennessee (1845 to 1851); Prattville, Alabama (1851 to 1853); and Marion, Alabama (1854 to 1871). Reid served as a "Know-Nothing" state representative from Perry County from 1855 to 1857. Disgusted with politics after one term, he formed a company in 1856 to explore the newly acquired Gadsden Purchase (now southern Arizona). The expedition lasted ten months and the story of the expedition was published in 1858 under the title Reid's Tramp. While on the "tramp," Reid briefly joined in a filibustering expedition into Mexico, being elected first lieutenant of a company of ragged adventurers.

In the 1860 election Reid, an opponent of secession, supported the "Constitutional Union" party. After Abraham Lincoln's election, however, Reid, along with most southern Whigs, reluctantly supported secession. In April, 1861, he was elected first lieutenant of Company A of the 8th Alabama Infantry. The regiment was sent to Virginia, but saw little action. In October, 1861, Secretary of War Leroy P. Walker, an old friend from north Alabama, commissioned Reid to raise a regiment of infantry. He raised the 28th Alabama and, upon its organization in March, 1862, was elected its lieutenant colonel. The 28th joined the Army of Tennessee after the Battle of Shiloh and was attached to a brigade of Alabama and South Carolina regiments, soon to be commanded by Brigadier General Arthur M. Mani-gault. The 28th quickly won the reputation as "a fighting regiment that never failed to give a good account of itself," though it missed the major fighting that occurred in the summer and fall campaigns of the Army of Tennessee. On November 29, 1862, Reid, "an active, energetic officer," was appointed colonel of the 28th. At the Battle of Stone's River on December 31,1862, to January 2,1863, he was shot in the thigh, but with great courage stayed on his horse and continued in command. Reid also led his regiment at the September 19 and 20, 1863, Battle of Chickamauga. On February 10,1864, General Joseph E. Johnston, the army commander, ordered Reid to leave the 28th and travel to northern Alabama to organize dispersed cavalry commands. He served there the remainder of the war, hunting down deserters more than fighting Yankees. In December, 1864, in the wake of General John Bell Hood's invasion of Tennessee, General P. G. T. Beauregard placed Reid in command of the post of Corinth, Mississippi, a vital supply center in the rear of Hood's army.

Reid returned to Marion, and his law practice, after the war. In 1871 he relocated to Selma, Alabama, where he made a mark as one of the city's ablest attorneys. The townspeople elected him to the city council. In 1894, the city's Confederate veterans elected him commander of the local UCV camp. Colonel Reid died in Selma on February 26, 1896, and is buried there in Live Oak Cemetery.

SHSP and CV list Reid as a general. The latter has him appointed brigadier general from Alabama in 1864- The former says he was acting brigadier general for recruiting in Alabama. Owen's History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography^ has him appointed brigadier general by General Johnston in the fall of 1864. This is unlikely, given that Johnston had been relieved of command that summer and thus was not in a position to promote anyone. During the war both his superiors and the Alabama Legislature recommended Reid for promotion to general. He occasionally exercised brigade command and was often called "general" after the war. However, the OR have Reid as a colonel as late as Decembet, 1864, and his May 15,1865, parole shows him as a colonel.

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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.