Thomas Marshall Jones

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Thomas Marshall Jones was born in Elizabeth City County, Virginia, on March 11, 1832, the son of John and Mary (Booker) Jones. His father, a wealthy farmer, was descended from Richard Jones, who immigrated to Virginia from Wales in 1620. The younger Jones attended Hampton Academy near his home before receiving an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He graduated in 1853, ranking forty-seventh in a class of fifty-two, and was commissioned lieutenant in the 8th Infantry. First posted in New York City, in a short while he was ordered to Ringgold Barracks, Texas. By 1861 Jones was acting as aide-de-camp to Major General David Twiggs, U.S. army commander in Texas.

On February 28, 1861, Jones resigned from the U.S. Army in order to enter Confederate service. On April 4, 1861, Jones was commissioned captain in the Confederate regular army and ordered to Pensacoia, Florida. Major General Braxton Bragg, who led the Confederate forces there, made Jones his chief of commissary. For the next eight months Jones hunted up food and forage for Bragg's army. The only action he saw was at the November 22 and 23, 1861, bombardment of Fort McRae near Pensacoia. Jones took charge of the fort when its commander was wounded and "won praise from all" for his "gallantry." On January 14, 1862, he was commissioned colonel of the 27th Mississippi Infantry, a regiment in the Pensacoia garrison. In the spring of 1862 General Bragg and most of the Pensacoia garrison were ordered to Corinth, Mississippi, to reinforce General Albert Sidney Johnston's army. On March 9, 1862, Brigadier General Samuel Jones, Bragg's successor, put Jones in charge of the thousand troops left behind in Pensacoia. On April 21, 1862, Bragg assigned Jones to duty as acting brigadier general. When Bragg's forces left for Corinth it was assumed that the reduced garrison left in Pensacoia was inadequate to hold that city, and that the city would have to be evacuated. The task of evacuation was left to Jones. In the next two months the city was quietly stripped of its military stores. To provide the appearance of a substantial defense, new, mostly unarmed units were sent to Pensacoia to increase Jones's command to 3,500 men. On the evening of May 9, 1862, Jones ordered his troops to burn the remaining military installations and march north. His actions in the evacuation were much criticized—the navy complained he burned naval supplies that could have been saved—but his superior praised him as "an officer of discretion and capacity." The 27th rejoined General Bragg in Mississippi, where Jones reverted to his actual rank of colonel. He led a brigade of Mississippi regiments in Bragg's Kentucky campaign and the October 8, 1862, Battle of Perryville. At the December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863 Battle of Stone's River, Brigadier General J. Patton Anderson led the brigade, and Jones returned to his regiment. This battle was Jones's last field action. The night prior to the battle, Jones "had gone to the rear, complaining of being unwell, and had not returned during the action." The next day, while returning to the field from his sick bed, Jones was "slightly" wounded and again retired. His lieutenant colonel was killed that day leading the 27th. Reading between the lines of General Anderson's report of the battle, it is clear that Anderson was highly critical of Jones's conduct. Angry that he had never been formally appointed brigadier general, while others junior to him in rank were being promoted, Jones resigned his colonel's commission on February 27, 1863. Immediately, Major General W. H. C. Whiting, an old army buddy who now commanded the Confederate defenses of Wilmington, North Carolina, requested that Jones be assigned to his command. But Jones was ill and unfit for immediate duty, and furloughed to Warrenton, North Carolina, where his family had fled. Recovering, Colonel Jones assumed command of Fort Caswell near Wilmington in 1863 and 1864. In the latter year he resigned his command because of failing health.

After the war the impoverished Jones settled in Fauquier County, Virginia, and bought a farm. Meeting with little success, Jones turned to the field of education, "and in this work he discovered his talent. He was a born teacher." From 1874 to 1877 he was a professor of agriculture and commandant of cadets at Maryland Agricultural College, a forerunner of the University of Maryland. Returning to Virginia, he was appointed superintendent of schools in Warrenton. During the first Cleveland administration the president appointed Jones an Indian agent fot the Shoshone and northern Arapahoe tribes in the Wyoming Territory. During Cleveland's second administration Jones served as superintendent of the Indian school at Santa Fe, New Mexico. Between 1898 and 1908 he worked at the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Agency in Oklahoma. In 1908 he and his family relocated to Prescott, Arizona. General Jones died on March 31, 1913, in Prescott, and is buried in that city's Masonic Cemetery.

SHSP, Cullum, and Heitman list Jones as a general. However, his substantive rank was colonel, being a general in the Army of Pensacoia only by military appointment.

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