William Brimage Bate
(1826-1905)

Major General

Monument: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.  http://www.archives.alabama.gov/conoffalb/index.html

William Brimage Bate, a native of Bledsoe's Lick (now Castalian Springs), Tennessee, was born October 7, 1826. Possessed of little formal education, he began his career with a position as clerk on a steamboat and ended with a seat in the United States Senate. Before enlisting in the Confederate Army as a private, Bate served in the Mexican War, edited a newspaper, studied law. He was also a member of the Tennessee legislature, and a Breckinridge Elector in 1860. Elected colonel of the 2nd Tennessee Infantry, he led his regiment at Shiloh, where he was severely wounded and incapacitated for some months. He was appointed brigadier general on October 3, 1862. Bate took part in the Tullahoma campaign and fought at Chickamauga, where his brigade artillery is said to have fired the last shot of the battle. After distinguishing himself in the Chattanooga campaign, he was promoted major general to rank from February 23, 1864. He then participated in all the engagements of the Army of Tennessee on the long, bloody trail from Dalton, Georgia, in the spring of 1864, to the final surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina. Bate returned to his law practice in Nashville, and was elected governor of Tennessee in 1882, and United States Senator in 1886, which latter position he held until his death in Washington, March 9, 1905. While a member of the Senate (1893), he was the author of a bill which removed the last vestige of Reconstruction legislation from the statute books. Bate was outstanding as a fighter. He was wounded three times and had six horses killed under him in battle. He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville.

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