James Ronald Chalmers
James Ronald Chalmers
January 11, 1831|
Halifax County, Virginia
|Died||April 9, 1898
|Place of burial||Elmwood Cemetery,
|Allegiance||Confederate States of America|
|Service/branch||Confederate States Army|
|Years of service||1861-1865|
|Commands held||9th Mississippi Infantry Regiment;
Second Brigade, Withers' Division;
Fifth Military District, Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana;
Chalmer's Cavalry Division
|Other work||Lawyer, politician|
Early life and career
Chalmers was born in Halifax County, Virginia, January 11, 1831. His father was Joseph Chalmers, who, having moved to Mississippi when James was a boy, settled in Holly Springs and became U. S. senator. The son was prepared for South Carolina College at Columbia, where he was graduated in 1851, and returning to Holly Springs studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1853. He was district attorney in 1858, and in 1861 was a delegate to the convention which passed the ordinance of secession. Being, like his father, an ardent State rights Democrat, he gave his vote in favor of secession.
American Civil War
Chalmers entered the Confederate States Army as Colonel of the 9th Mississippi Infantry Regiment in 1861, and for a while commanded at Pensacola, Florida. On February 13, 1862, he became a brigadier-general, and on April 6th was assigned to the command of Second Brigade, Withers' Division, Army of the Mississippi. He and his command did splendid fighting in the battle of Shiloh. When Bragg was conducting operations in north Mississippi he sent Chalmers with a force of cavalry to make a feint upon Rienzi, Mississippi in order to cover the movement of a body of infantry to Ripley, Mississippi. In executing this order Chalmers encountered Sheridan, July 1st, and a stubborn engagement took place. It lasted from about half-past eight in the morning till late in the afternoon. Chalmers, ascertaining that Sheridan had been reinforced by infantry and artillery, retired. When Bragg advanced into Kentucky in the summer of 1862 Chalmers' command was a part of his force, performing its duties with courage and zeal. In the battle of Murfreesboro he and his men again rendered brilliant service. In April, 1863, General Chalmers was placed in command of Fifth Military District of the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. In 1864 he was assigned to the command of cavalry brigades of Jeffrey Forrest and McCulloch, forming the first division of Forrest's cavalry. This cavalry division subsequently enlarged by the addition of Rucker's Brigade. General Chalmers bore a conspicuous part in the battle of Fort Pillow and in all the brilliant campaigns of Forrest in north Mississippi, west Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as in Hood's Tennessee Campaign. February 18, 1865, he was put in command of all the Mississippi cavalry in the Confederate service in Mississippi and west Tennessee.
He was elected to the State Senate in 1875 and 1876, and in 1876 as a representative of his district to the Congress of the United States, serving in the Forty-fifth and Forty-sixth Congresses. He received the certificate of election to the Forty-seventh Congress, but his seat was successfully contested by John Lynch. He was elected to the Forty-eighth Congress, and held his seat in spite of a contest. He also claimed election to the Fifty-first Congress, but on a contest the seat was given to his opponent. After that time he devoted himself to the practice of law. His home was at Vicksburg, Mississippi, until his death in April, 1898.
- List of American Civil War generals (Confederate)
- Shiloh order of battle
- Murfreesboro order of battle
- Warner, 1959, p. 46.
- Hooker, 1899, p. 244; Wakelyn, 1977, p. 127.
- Hooker, 1899, pp. 244-45.
- Hooker, 1899, pp. 245-46.
- Wakelyn, Jon L. (1977). Biographical Dictionary of the Confederacy. Westport, Connecticut: Louisiana Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-8371-6124-X.
- Warner, Ezra J. (1959). Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0-8071-0823-5.
- Wheeler, Maj.-Gen. Joseph; Hooker, Col. Charles E. (1899). Evans, Brig.-Gen. Clement A., ed. Confederate Military History XII. Atlanta: Confederate Publishing.
- Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J. Civil War High Commands. Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
- Halsell, Willie D. James R. Chalmers and 'Mahoneism' in Mississippi. Journal of Southern History 10 (February 1944): 37-58
- Smith, Timothy B. (2012). James Z. George: Mississippi's Great Commoner. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press. ISBN 978-1-61703-231-8.
- James Ronald Chalmers at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- James Ronald Chalmers at Find a Grave