Thomas Lafayette Rosser
(1836-1910)

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

Thomas Lafayette Rosser was born in Campbell County, Virginia, October 15, 1836. The family emigrated to the Sabine River country of Texas in 1849. Appointed to West Point in 1856, at that time a five-year course, Rosser resigned on April 22, 1861, two weeks before he would have been graduated. He was appointed a 1st lieutenant in the Regular Confederate service, and assigned as instructor to the Washington Artillery of New Orleans. He commanded a company of this regiment at First Manassas. After being wounded at Mechanicsville, he was made colonel of the 5th Virginia Cavalry, at the instigation of Jeb Stuart. He was wounded at Kelly's Ford, but continued to lead the 5th Virginia with brilliant success until he was promoted brigadier to rank from September 28, 1863. Rosser succeeded Beverly Robertson in command of the Laurel Brigade, and continued to win honors in the Overland campaign of 1864. In October 1864 he assumed command of Early's cavalry in the Shenandoah, and was promoted major general from November 1. He was defeated by Custer at Woodstock and Cedar Creek, and after two successful raids into West Virginia, he returned in the spring of 1865 to the Petersburg lines. He participated in the battle of Five Forks and the retreat to Appomattox, where, refusing to surrender, he cut his way out. However, he was captured, and paroled early in May. After the war he acquired considerable means as chief engineer of the Northern Pacific and Canadian Pacific Railroads. He later settled near Charlottesville, Virginia, as a gentleman farmer. On June 10, 1898 President McKinley appointed Rosser a brigadier general of U. S. Volunteers, and he donned the uniform he had put off thirty-seven years before. Honorably mustered out on October 31, 1898, he died at Charlottesville, March 29, 1910, and is buried in Riverview Cemetery.

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