Joseph Wheeler

Major General

Monument: Find-a-Grave

Buried in Arlington National Cemetery

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

Joseph Wheeler was born at Augusta, Georgia, September 10, 1836. He was graduated from West Point in 1859, and resigned his 2nd lieutenant's commission in the Mounted Rifles on April 22, 1861. Twenty-one months later he was a Confederate major general and in command of all the cavalry in the Army of Tennessee at the early age of twenty-six. Initially commissioned a 1st lieutenant of artillery, he was on September 4, appointed colonel of the 19th Alabama Infantry, with which he fought at Shiloh. Soon after, he was transferred to the mounted arm, and on July 13, Bragg made him chief of cavalry of the Army of Mississippi. From that time until the close of the war he was almost constantly engaged in battle. Three times wounded himself, thirty-six staff officers fell by his side, and sixteen horses were shot under him. His exploits were second only to those of Bedford Forrest. Promoted brigadier general on October 30, 1862, and major general from January 20, 1863, he commanded the cavalry during Bragg's invasion of Kentucky, at Murfreesboro, and in the Chattanooga campaign. During the Atlanta campaign he was again active and made several raids on Sherman's communications. In opposing Sherman's advance to Savannah, he was less successful. His command came to be much criticized for lack of discipline, both there and in the later campaign of the Carolinas, where he was superseded as chief of cavalry by Lieutenant General Wade Hampton. Following his capture in Georgia in May of 1865, Wheeler was released from Fort Delaware on June 8. He resided for a time in New Orleans after the war, and moved to Wheeler, Alabama, in 1868. In 1881 he was elected for the first time to Congress, serving in all eight terms. A major general of U. S. Volunteers in the Spanish-American War, he was retired as a brigadier general of the regular army on September 10, 1900. General Wheeler died in Brooklyn, New York, January 25, 1906, and is buried in Arlington.

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