Alfred D. Barksdale

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Alfred Dickinson Barksdale (July 17, 1892 – August 16, 1972) was an American soldier, Virginia lawyer and legislator, state court judge, and United States federal judge.

Military career[edit]

Born in Houston, Virginia (now Halifax), Barksdale graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1911 at the age of 18, then earned an LL.B. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was president of his class, in 1915. After a year in private practice in Lynchburg, he served in the United States Army from 1916 to 1922. For his service with the Virginia-based 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division in Europe during World War I, he received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Croix de guerre, and the Chevalier Legion of Honor. The VMI website has a photograph of Barksdale in uniform.[1]

His D.S.C. citation reads:

"Alfred D. Barksdale, captain, 116th Infantry. For repeated acts of extraordinary heroism in action near Samogneux, France, October 8, 1918; near Molleville, France, October 12; and in the Bois de la Grand Montagne, France, October 15, 1918. Commanding a support company during the attack of October 8, Capt. Barksdale discovered that his battalion had advanced ahead of the unit on the right flank, and was suffering heavy losses from machine gun fire. Without orders he attacked and captured the guns, taking many prisoners. On October 12 he worked for over an hour, exposed to a terrific bombardment, binding the wounds of his men. On October 15 he advanced alone in a thick wood and, with the aid of his pistol, put out of action a destructive machine gun which was pouring such a deadly fire his men could not raise their heads."[2]

At the centennial ceremonies for the University of Virginia, Captain Barksdale on behalf of the alumni presented the University with a plaque listing the names of 80 graduates killed in World War I.[3]

Politics and law[edit]

Returning to civilian life, Barksdale again practiced law in Lynchburg from 1922 to 1938. He served as a member of the Senate of Virginia from 1924 to 1928, and was judge of Virginia's Sixth Circuit from 1938 to 1940, the same position which his father, William Randolph Barksdale, had filled for many years in the early 20th century.

Barksdale received a recess appointment from Franklin D. Roosevelt on December 19, 1939 to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia vacated by Armistead Mason Dobie, who had been elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The United States Senate confirmed his nomination on February 1, 1940, and he received his commission on February 5, 1940. He served along with John Paul, Jr. as the two judges of the district for 17 years.

Judge Barksdale was a member of the Board of Trustees of Hollins College for over thirty years, and was a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia from 1945 to 1957.

Judge Barksdale took senior status on August 1, 1957. He was replaced as an active judge by Roby C. Thompson, although he continued to serve as a senior judge until his death, in Lynchburg.

Judge Barksdale was the maternal grandfather of Bdale Garbee.


  1. ^ "World War I officer Alfred Barksdale, 1919". Virginia Military Institute. Retrieved March 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Cutchins, John (1921). History of the Twenty-ninth Division, "Blue and Gray," 1917-1919. Press of MacCalla & Co (accessed via Google Books).
  3. ^ "VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY TO MARK 100 YEARS" (PDF). The New York Times, May 29, 1921. May 29, 1921. Retrieved February 17, 2008.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Armistead Mason Dobie
Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia
Succeeded by
Roby C. Thompson