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Joseph Finegan, a native of Clones, Ireland, was born November 17, 1814. He migrated in his early twenties to Florida, where he first established himself as a planter and subsequently built a lumber mill in Jacksonville. He later moved to Fernandina and was associated with United States Senator David L. Yulee in railroad construction. A member of the secession convention in 1861, he was placed in charge of military affairs for the state by Governor Milton, and on April 5, 1862 was commissioned brigadier general in the Confederate Army. He was commander of the District of Middle and East Florida until after the battle of Olustee, in which he was in nominal command of the troops engaged. Transferred with a brigade of Florida regiments to Virginia in May 1864, Finegan took part in the battle of Cold Harbor, continuing to serve with the Army of Northern Virginia until March 20, 1865, when he was again ordered to duty in Florida. After the war he was a member of the Florida state senate (1865-66) and a cotton broker in Savannah, Georgia. The last years of his life were spent in Rutledge, Florida, where he died on October 29, 1885. General Finegan is buried in the Old City Cemetery, Jacksonville, Florida.
Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.