James A. Walker
|James Alexander Walker|
August 27, 1832|
Augusta County, Virginia
|Died||October 21, 1901
|Place of burial||East End Cemetery, Wytheville, Virginia|
|Allegiance||Confederate States of America|
|Service/branch||Confederate States Army|
|Years of service||1861–65|
|Commands held||Stonewall Brigade|
|Other work||Lawyer, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, U.S. Congressman|
James Alexander Walker (August 27, 1832 – October 21, 1901) was a Virginia lawyer, politician, and Confederate general during the American Civil War, later serving as a United States Congressman for two terms. He earned the nickname "Stonewall Jim" for his days as commander of the famed Stonewall Brigade, which at one time had been led by its namesake, Stonewall Jackson.
Walker was born near Mount Meridian in Augusta County, Virginia. He attended private schools as a youth and attended Virginia Military Institute. In 1852, while in then Major Thomas Jackson's Classroom (Jackson was both an officer and an instructor at VMI) Cadet Walker perceived that Jackson was challenging his integrity. He, therefore, refused to follow a directive of Jackson to "stop talking" unless Jackson would also stop talking. Jackson excused Walker from class and charged him with disobeying an order. Cadet Walker, a cadet officer who would have graduated in only weeks, challenged Jackson to a duel to defend his honor. Walker was court-martialed and expelled from Virginia Military Institute for insubordination to an officer. It is important to note that when General Stonewall Jackson was on his deathbed after being shot by friendly fire, he requested that then Colonel James A Walker, an officer in the Confederate Army be promoted to Brigadier General and take over the Stonewall Brigade, which Jackson had formed and first led. Stonewall Jackson requested by name the very man who had years earlier challenged him to a duel! It is also important to note that Walkers name was added to the rolls of graduates at Virginia Military Institute some years later. General James A Walker commanded the Stonewall Brigade, and was known by his troops as "Stonewall Jim".
After the war Walker returned to civilian life. He studied law at the University of Virginia in 1854 and 1855 before being admitted to the bar the following year. He established a successful law practice in Newbern in Pulaski County. In 1858, he married Sarah A. Poage of Augusta County, Virginia. The couple would have six children. He became an attorney for the Commonwealth in 1860.
With the outbreak of the Civil War and Virginia's eventual secession, Walker entered the Confederate Army in April 1861 as captain of the "Pulaski Guards", which soon became Company C of the 4th Virginia Infantry. In July 1861, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned to the 13th Virginia Infantry. Walker was again promoted, this time to colonel, in March 1862, leading his regiment in several actions. Walker was an acting brigade commander at the Battle of Antietam.
He was promoted to brigadier general and assigned command of the Stonewall Brigade in May 1863, leading it during the Gettysburg Campaign, where his regiment participated in the attacks on Culp's Hill. He was badly wounded at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in 1864 and sent home to recuperate.
Post war career
When the war ended in 1865, Walker returned to his law practice and political career, being elected as a Democrat to the House of Delegates of Virginia in 1871 and 1872. VMI granted him an honorary degree in 1872 in recognition of his Civil War service. Five years later, he was elected the 13th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.
In 1890, Walker was a charter member of The Virginia Bar Association.
In 1893, Walker switched allegiances and joined the Republican Party. He was elected to the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Congresses, serving from 1895 until 1899. During his second term, Walker served as chairman of the Committee on Elections.
In 1898, Walker was defeated for re-election by William F. Rhea. In the subsequent contest of that election, a shootout occurred at a deposition, and Walker was wounded. In 1900, Walker ran again against Rhea and lost. Walker's contest of the 1900 election was abated by his death in 1901.
Death and legacy
- James A. Walker at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved on 2008-02-13
- Caldwell, Willie Walker. Stonewall Jim: A Biography of General James A. Walker, C.S.A. Elliston, VA: Northcross House, 1990. ISBN 978-0-9617256-4-8.
- Evans, Clement A., ed. Confederate Military History: A Library of Confederate States History. 12 vols. Atlanta: Confederate Publishing Company, 1899. OCLC 833588.
Elisha F. Paxton
|Commander of the Stonewall Brigade
May 14, 1863 – May 12, 1864
Henry W. Thomas
|Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
1878 – 1882
John F. Lewis
|United States House of Representatives|
James W. Marshall
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 9th congressional district
March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1899
William F. Rhea