Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Brigadier General Maxcy Gregg

Maxcy Gregg was born August 1st 1814 in Columbia, South Carolina. He was the Great grandson of Esek Hopkins, commodore of the Continental Navy. He grandfather Jonathan Maxcy was the first president of South Carolina College. Gregg later attended and graduated first in his class from this school. Later it would come to be known as the University of South Carolina. He was admitted to the bar in 1839 and practiced Law with his father.
The war with Mexico brought him his first taste of military life as a Major in the 12th U.S. Infantry but, he arrived to late to participate in any major battles. So he returned home to South Carolina where he was a respected member of society.
As a life long bachelor he was considered to be one of the most "scholarly generals" when the American Civil War started.  He owned his own observatory, studied astronomy, botany, ornithology and studied languages.
He was a strong advocate of states rights and was a member of the 1860 convention which passed the secession of South Carolina.
When South Carolina seceded he helped organize the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry regiment. He served as the regiments first colonel and was later promoted to Brigadier General serving under General A.P. Hill in his famed "Light Division." Gregg's Brigade saw action at Gaines Mill during the Peninsula Campaign and at Second Manassas where his men refused six Federal assaults.
During the Battle of Antietam, Hill's "Light Division" forced marched almost 20 miles from Harpers Ferry to help save General Rober E. Lee's right flank. After the battle a conference on the field was held by General Robert E. Lee and A.P. Hill with fellow Brigadier Generals Maxcy Gregg, Dorsey Pender, James J. Archer, and Lawrence O'Bryan Branch. A Federal Sharpshooter seeing the group of officers fired his musket and struck General Branch in the right cheek. The bullet exited behind his left ear killing him instantly and ended up in Maxcy Gregg's thigh.
In December 1862, at the battle of Fredericksburg, The "Light Division" was in action again. During the battle, General Gregg rode the line giving orders when he was shot through the spine. He was carried from the field and died two days later on December 15th 1862. He was 48 years old.

Division Commander A.P. Hill giving last minute instructions to General Gregg.

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