William L. Brandon

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William L. Brandon
Birth name William Lindsay Brandon
Born 1801
Adams County, Mississippi
Died October 8, 1890
Wilkinson County, Mississippi
Buried at Arcole Plantation[1]
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861 – 1864
Rank Confederate States of America General.png Brigadier General
Commands held 21st Mississippi Infantry Regiment
1st Mississippi Infantry Battalion (Brandon)
Battles/wars Malvern Hill

William Lindsay Brandon (born 1800 or 1802 in Adams County, MS; died October 8, 1890 in Wilkinson County, MS) was a physician, state legislator, planter and military officer best known for having served as a General in the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

Antebellum life[edit]

Brandon was born in either 1800 or 1802 in Adams County, Mississippi. His exact birth date cannot be determined as his family records were destroyed in an 1836 fire. He settled in Wilkinson County, MS near Pinckneyville. Brandon was educated at Washington College and the then College of New Jersey (now Princeton) studying medicine. In his antebellum career, he became a planter very interested in horses and hunting. In 1826, Brandon served in the Mississippi State Legislature.[2]

Military career[edit]

Despite his age, Brandon was allowed to serve with the Confederate army in 1861 as lieutenant colonel of the 21st Mississippi Infantry Regiment. Brandon went to Virginia but not in time for the Battle of First Manassas. About 10 days after the end of the battle in June 1861, Brandon awoke with a chill. This illness prompted Brandon to take a leave from active service, which lasted until the end of August. Other men in his regiment did not think he would be fit for duty again and he did not receive the appointment to colonel.[3] The regiment was therefore unable to fight in First Manassas which, at that time, was described as the greatest pitched battle ever to be fought on American soil.[4] Brandon and his regiment were placed in the Potomac division of the Confederate army in Virginia. During the summer and fall of 1861, Brandon's unit was on duty in the northeastern part of the state.[4] During the Yorktown siege, Confederate forces, under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston, were spread out across eastern Virginia in Culpeper, Fredricksburg, and Norfolk, forming the Warwick Line. The Battle of Williamsburg followed the end of the siege.[5] During the Battle of Seven Pines, Johnston suffered a severe wound when an artillery shell hit him in the right shoulder and chest. This incident led to command being turned over to Robert E. Lee, who soon led an aggressive campaign.[6]

Battle of Malvern Hill and injuries[edit]

During the Battle of Malvern Hill on 1 July 1862, a ball passed through Brandon's ankle joint.[7] As he fell, his hand hit a rolling shell which did not explode. Oblivious that he had been wounded, Brand sprang back up; unable to stand on his feet, he fell once more and had to stay on the field until men were told to pick him up and carry him to the rear. Because there was no bleeding seen, Brandon thought that his injuries were not serious but was taken on horse-back to a hospital. Brandon refused to drink whiskey without water and sugar but after others convinced him that it was necessary, he finally drank it. A tourniquet was put in place and an amputation was performed rapidly.[7][8] The procedure was very painful as there was not enough chloroform to provide full anesthesia when the arteries were sewn.[7]

Because of Brandon's age, the doctors thought his chances of survival were slight. After being transferred to Richmond, he was taken care of by friends and his servant. Confederate President Jefferson Davis even offered the hospitality of the William T. Sutherlin Mansion, Davis' temporary residence.[7] There were complications during this time[7] including various treatments of the day.[9]

During Brandon's recovery, his regiment fought in the Battle of Seven Pines, during which his second in command, Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin G. Humphreys, was also absent. The uncoordinated 21st Mississippi lost many officers and men during the engagement.[9] Brandon later returned to active service, commanding his regiment until after the Battle of Gettysburg.[4] General William Barksdale was killed in the battle; Colonel Humphreys became brigadier general to replace him, and Brandon was in turn promoted to full colonel.[10]

Later years[edit]

Brandon led his regiment through the campaigns of Chattanooga and Knoxville, returning to Virginia with Lt. Gen. James Longstreet. In June 1864, Brandon was promoted to brigadier general and sent to Mississippi where, on 23 July, he was placed in command of the Reserve Corps of Mississippi.[7] He was later placed in charge of the Confederate Bureau of Conscription on 8 October 1864. In his own state of Mississippi, he labored to bring out every man needed for the service of the Confederacy.[11] Brandon returned to his plantation in Wilkinsons, after the war, where, despite his age and physical disability, he worked until his death.


  1. ^ "William Lindsay Brandon". Civil War Reference. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  2. ^ Warner 2006, p. 32, Reprint Company 1978, p. 420
  3. ^ Evans 1899, p. 242, Welsh 1999, p. 24
  4. ^ a b c Evans 1899, p. 242
  5. ^ Evans 1899, p. 242; Sears 2001
  6. ^ Symonds 1994, pp. 160–174; Evans 1899, p. 242
  7. ^ a b c d e f Welsh 1999, p. 25
  8. ^ Hannings 2010, p. 201
  9. ^ a b Welsh 1999, pp. 24–25; Evans 1899, p. 242
  10. ^ Evans 1899, pp. 242–243
  11. ^ Evans 1899, p. 243


  • Evans, Clement (1899). Confederate military history: a library of Confederate States history, Volume 7. Michigan: Confederate Publishing Co. 
  • Hannings, Bud (2010). Every Day of the Civil War: A Chronological Encyclopedia. McFarland. p. 631. ISBN 0-7864-4464-9. 
  • Reprint Company (1978). Biographical and historical memoirs of Mississippi: embracing an authentic and comprehensive account of the chief events in the history of the state and a record of the lives of many of the most worthy and illustrious families and individuals, Volume 1. Reprint Co. p. 1386. ISBN 0-87152-268-3. 
  • Sears, Stephen W. (2001). To the gates of Richmond: the peninsula campaign. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 512. ISBN 0-89919-790-6. 
  • Symonds, Craig L. (1994). Joseph E. Johnston: A Civil War Biography. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 464. ISBN 0-393-31130-9. 
  • Warner, Ezra J. (2006). Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Louisiana State University Press. p. 420. ISBN 0-8071-3150-4. 
  • Welsh, Jack D. (1999). Medical Histories of Confederate Generals. Kent State University Press. p. 448. ISBN 0-87338-649-3.