Robert Selden Garnett

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Robert Selden Garnett was the first general officer on either side to fall on the field of battle in the Civil War. A cousin of General Richard Brooke Garnett, he was born in Essex County, Virginia, December 16, 1819, and was graduated from West Point in 1841. Twice brevetted for gallantry in Mexico, he was one of the most accomplished of the younger officers of the old army when he resigned his commission of major in the 9th Infantry, April 30, 1861, to enter the service of the Confederacy. Garnett was almost at once appointed brigadier general in the Provisional Army (June 6, 1861), and ordered to Staunton to assume command in Northwestern Virginia. Entrenching on Rich Mountain, he was soon compelled by superior numbers to evacuate his position there and on Laurel Hill. Being closely pursued by the Federals under Generals McClellan and Rosecrans, he deployed his rear guard near Corrick's Ford on Cheat River, July 13, 1861, and while directing the dispositions of a skirmish line and awaiting the arrival of other troops which had been sent for, he was mortally wounded. His body fell into the hands of the enemy, but was returned to his family and ultimately buried in the Green Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.

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