William Flank Perry

Reference: Find-a-Grave

William Flank Perry was born in Jackson County, Georgia, March 12, 1823. His parents moved to Chambers County, Alabama, when he was ten. With little or no formal schooling, he taught himself, and then proceeded to teach others. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1854, but never practiced. The same year he was elected Alabama's first superintendent of public instruction, and was twice re-elected. In this office he laid the foundations for the state's public school system. From 1858 to 1862 Perry was president of the East Alabama Female College, a position from which he resigned to enlist in the Confederate Army as a private in the 44th Alabama; a few weeks later he was elected its major. The 44th fought at Second Manassas and Sharpsburg, after which Perry became colonel of the regiment. As a part of Law's brigade in the 1st Corps the regiment was present at Gettysburg, Chickamauga, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. After Cold Harbor, Perry led Law's brigade until the final surrender at Appomattox, and was repeatedly recommended for promotion by Longstreet and others. He was finally commissioned brigadier general to rank from February 21, 1865. Returning to Alabama after the war, General Perry spent two years as a planter, and then moved to Kentucky to engage in his old occupation of teaching. At the time of his death, December 18, 1901, he had been for many years professor of English and philosophy at Ogden College, Bowling Green, Kentucky. He is buried there in Fairview 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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