Thomas H. Bradley

(Need photo)

Thomas H. Bradley, a brigadier general of Arkansas state forces, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, on July 25,1808, the son of Thomas and Margaret Bradley, farmers in that county. He developed into one of the leading merchants of Franklin, Tennessee. In the Second Seminole War (1835 to 1836) Bradley was a major and regimental adjutant with the 1st Tennessee Volunteers. Soon after that war he removed to Crittenden County, Arkansas, where he established a large plantation on the Mississippi River about eighteen miles north of Memphis. One of the pioneer planters and largest slave-owners in that county, Bradley prospered. Like many planters Bradley (a Democrat) dabbled in politics and served one term (from 1850 to l851)in the state house of representatives. A Unionist by conviction, Bradley was a Douglas delegate to the 1860 Democratic Convention.

Elected to the Arkansas Secession Convention, Bradley was reputedly the only delegate from eastern Arkansas to oppose secession, although he was the wealthiest delegate and largest slaveholder elected. On account of his prior military experience, Bradley was named brigadier general of Arkansas state forces by the secession convention, to command the 2nd (Eastern) Division. His stint in divisional command was not a success. Because of his Unionist background, his "old age and feeble health," the troops in camp "had no confidence in Bradley." He quarreled with his officers, attempting at one point to courtmartial future General Pat Cleburne. The Arkansas Military Board relieved General Bradley of duty in July, 1861; one newspaper called him a "drunkard, a coward, and incompetent in every respect."' Enfeebled and disappointed, Bradley took no further part in the war. He relocated to Memphis, where he died on September 30, 1864- Bradley is interred in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis.

Previous Page

Reference:  More Generals in Gray.  Bruce S. Allardice.  A companion volume to Generals in Gray.  Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.