Gettysburg Off the Beaten Path: The Death of William Barksdale

Francis Poore’s brigade commander…

Emerging Civil War

Part of a series.

William Barksdale in the antebellum years. William Barksdale in the antebellum years. He was still battling with Jubal Early over actions at Second Fredericksburg as the Gettysburg Campaign opened.

Brigadier General William Barksdale had been chomping at the bit all day July 2nd to go into action. The 41 year old Tennessee native was one of the hardest charging leaders in Robert E. Lee’s army. A former politician with no formal military training, Barksdale served in the Mexican American War, and at the outbreak of the Civil War, was appointed colonel of the 13th Mississippi. At Fredericksburg, his 1,600 Mississippian’s held the Army of the Potomac at bay for the better part of a day. During the May 1863 Second Battle of Fredericksburg his men were not so lucky. Swept from the famed Sunken Road, and Marye’s Heights, the defeat at Second Fredericksburg was the only blight on an otherwise…

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