Roswell Sabine Ripley

Brigadier General

Monument: Find-a-Grave

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

Roswell Sabine Ripley, a native of Ohio, was born at Worthington in Franklin County, March 14, 1823, and was graduated from the U. S. Military Academy at the age of twenty, standing sev­enth in a class of thirty-nine. He was twice brevetted for gallantry in the Mexican War, of which he wrote a two-volume history shortly after its conclusion. Ripley, who was a nephew of General James W. Ripley, chief of ordnance of the U. S. Army from 1861 until his retirement in 1863 —married into the Middleton family of Charleston, South Carolina, in 1852. The following year he resigned his army commission to engage in business there. In 1860, as a lieutenant colonel of the state forces, he occupied Fort Moultrie after its evacuation by Major Robert Anderson, and also Fort Sumter, after its fall in April 1861. Appointed brigadier general in the Confederate service on August 15, 1861, he was in command of South Carolina until his relief the following year by General Pemberton. Ripley was a skillful and competent field officer but forever at odds with both his superiors and subordinates, including Generals Cooper, Beauregard, and Pemberton, when in departmental command. He was given a brigade in D. H. Hill's division, and fought throughout the Seven Days, and was severely wounded at Sharpsburg. Again on duty in South Carolina during 1863 and 1864, he was ordered to General J. E. Johnston's army in the spring of 1865, and joined it the day of the battle of Bentonville. At the termination of hostilities General Ripley went to England and engaged in a manufacturing venture, which soon failed. Thereafter his residence was in Charleston, but he spent much of his time in New York City, where he died on March 29, 1887. He is buried in Charleston.

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