Roger Atkinson Pryor

Brigadier General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

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

Roger Atkinson Pryor was born near Petersburg, Virginia, July 19, 1828. He was educated in the schools of Nottoway County, and at the Classical Academy in Petersburg. He was graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1845 as valedictorian of his class and with considerable reputation as an orator. He then studied law at the University of Virginia and was admitted to the bar. By the outbreak of war in 1861 Pryor had had a notable career as lawyer, newspaper editor, and Congressman. He resigned from the House of Representatives on March 3, 1861, Pryor is said to have declined the honor of firing the first shot at Fort Sumter. He was elected to the Provisional Confederate Congress, but soon resigned to enter the army as colonel of the 3rd Virginia Infantry. Promoted brigadier general after the battle of Williamsburg (April 16, 1862), he led his brigade in the Seven Days, Second Manassas, and at Sharpsburg. In November of that year Pryor was given a small brigade and stationed south of James River. The following spring, for reasons which are not apparent in the records, but certainly at the instance of Longstreet and Lee, Pryor's regiments were separately reassigned, and he was left without a command. He resigned on August 18, 1863, and served thereafter without rank as a special courier attached to the cavalry. He was captured, November 27, 1864, and was confined in Fort Lafayette, not being released until a short time before the surrender. In September 1865 General Pryor went to New York, and became associated with the Daily News; the following year he was admitted to the state bar. During the remainder of a long life he practiced law, was a judge of the court of common pleas, and of the state supreme court, and for the last seven years, was a special referee of the appellate division of the court. He died in New York City on March 14, 1919, in his ninety-first year; he is buried in Princeton, New Jersey.

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