Thomas Fentress Toon

Monument: Find-a-Grave

Thomas Fentress Toon was born in Columbus County, North Carolina, June 10, 1840. On May 20, 1861, while in his senior year at Wake Forest College, he enlisted in the Columbus Guards No. 2, a company which later became a part of the 20th North Carolina. He returned to college immediately after his enlistment and was graduated in June. The same month he was elected 1st lieutenant of his company, and the following month, captain. Toon was wounded seven times during the war, and fought with conspicuous gallantry at Seven Pines, in the Seven Days, at South Mountain, and at Fredericksburg. Elected colonel of the 20th North Carolina on February 26, 1863—with his seniors waiving their rights to promotion —he led the regiment during Jackson's celebrated flank attack at Chancellorsville, at Gettysburg, and in the Mine Run campaign. After the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania—in the latter of which General R. D. Johnston was wounded—Toon was promoted brigadier general from May 31, 1864. He commanded the brigade during Early's advance on Washington and in the battle of the Monocacy. However, in August, when General Johnston returned to command, Toon reverted to his former rank of colonel. As such he continued through the balance of the Shenandoah campaign and in the Petersburg defenses. On March 25, 1865, during the assault on Fort Stedman, he received his last and most serious wound, which incapacitated him for further duty. General Toon resided in Columbus County, North Carolina, for some twenty-five years after the war, removing to Robeson County in 1891. At the turn of the century he was elected state superintendent of public instruction, and died at Raleigh on February 19, 1902. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

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

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