William Montague Browne

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William Montague Browne, supposedly the nephew of an Irish peer, was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1823, and was educated at the National University. After service in the Crimean War in an English regiment, he emigrated to the United States in 1855 and settled in Washington, where he assisted in editing the Union and the Constitution, "administration" papers devoted to the policies of James Buchanan. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Browne cast his lot with the new Confederacy. A prior acquaintance with Howell Cobb enabled him to secure appointment to the personal staff of Jefferson Davis, with rank of colonel of cavalry. From February 17 to March 18, 1862 he served as Secretary of State ad interim. In April 1864 he was appointed commandant of conscripts for the state of Georgia, and later that year temporarily commanded a brigade in the defense of Savannah against Sherman. Davis appointed him brigadier general with temporary rank from November 11, 1864; however, the Confederate Senate rejected his nomination to that grade on February 18, 1865. Unsuccessful as a farmer after the war, his friendship with General Cobb obtained for him a chair of history and constitutional law at the University of Georgia, a post which he held until his death. General Browne died in Athens on April 28, 1883, and is buried there in an unmarked grave in Oconee Hill Cemetery. His wife had predeceased him, and they had no children.

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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.