Samuel Gibbs French

Major General

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

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

Samuel Gibbs French, born in Gloucester County, New Jersey, November 22, 1818, was graduated at West Point in 1843, and won two brevets in Mexico as an artillery officer, being severely wounded at Buena Vista. He acquired by his marriage a plantation in Mississippi and resigned from the army in 1856 to supervise it. At the outbreak of war he was chief of ordnance of his adopted state, and was appointed brigadier general on October 23, 1861, and major general to rank from August 31, 1862. After intermittent service in the neighborhood of Richmond, Petersburg, and Suffolk, and in North Carolina, French was attached to J. E. Johnston's forces at Jackson, Mississippi, and on May 18, 1864, joined the Army of Tennessee. He led his division until the battle of Nashville, but was relieved from duty before that battle because of an eye infection that had rendered him temporarily almost blind. After his recovery he served at Mobile until its surrender in April 1865. His post-war career spanned forty-five years, during which he was again a planter, later retiring to Florida where he died at Florala, April 20, 1910, in his ninety-second year. His autobiographical Two Wars, published in 1901, is especially interesting for references to his Northern birth and upbringing and the consequent reaction, North and South, to his Confederate adherence. General French is buried in Pensacola.

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