Reuben Walker Carswell
Reuben Walker Carswell, a
brigadier general of Georgia militia, was born on September 29,1837, in
Louisville, Jefferson County, Georgia, the son of Edward Rhodes and Mary Celesta
(Walker) Carswell. The elder Carswell, a state representative, was a member of a
Scotch-Irish family long distinguished in Jefferson and Burke counties. After
his education in his native county Cars-well attended Emory University, from
which he graduated in 1856. Returning home, he studied law under future
Confederate Major General Ambrose R. Wright and within a year was admitted to
the bar. With a "genial disposition and close attention combined with able
preparation," Carswell soon built a lucrative law practice with his cousin
William Carswell in Louisville.
A 250-pound gourmand "with marked gifts, large culture and much magnetic humor," he was elected state representative in 1858, serving until 1860."
On June 14, 1861, Carswell was commissioned second lieutenant of Company C of the 20th Georgia. In March, 1862, he was commissioned captain of Company E of the 48th Georgia, a new regiment. The 48th, a unit in the brigade of Ambrose Wright, his former law teacher, was sent to Virginia and joined the Army of Northern Virginia. Promoted lieutenant colonel of the 48th on March 22,1862, Carswell distinguished himself in the Seven Days' Battles in June and July of 1862 and at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May, 1863. In 1863 Carswell was again elected state representative and returned to Georgia. Governor Brown appointed Carswell brigadier general of state militia in 1864- Carswell led the 1st Brigade of the Georgia Militia, opposing the Union army of Major General William T. Sherman in its advance on Atlanta and the March to the Sea. The 1st Brigade fought at Smyrna Station (July 4, 1864), the Battle of Atlanta (July 22, 1864), and manned the trenches during the subsequent siege of Atlanta. After the fall of Atlanta Governor Brown ordered the militia division furloughed for thirty days in order to let the men harvest their crops. Reassembled in October, 1864, Carswell's men skirmished with Union troops throughout the advance on Savannah. The brigade was fortunate enough to miss the Battle of Griswoldville on November 22, 1864, during which the militia division attacked a Union brigade and was bloodily repulsed. Carswell's final active service was commanding his brigade at the siege of Savannah in December, 1864- He surrendered to Union forces at Augusta, Georgia, on May 20, 1865, and was given his parole as brigadier general of the Georgia militia.
Returning home in June, 1865, Carswell resumed his law practice with moderate success. In 1880 he was elected judge of the Superior Courts of the Middle Circuit, resigning after six years because of ill health. On January 11, 1889, Carswell died at his Louisville home. He is buried in Louisville's New Cemetery.
General Carswell's command of a brigade of militia that served in a campaign qualifies him to be considered a Confederate general.
Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.