James R. Slack

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James R. Slack
Born (1818-09-28)September 28, 1818
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Died July 28, 1881(1881-07-28) (aged 62)
Chicago, Illinois
Place of burial Mt. Hope Cemetery, Huntington, Indiana
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1861–1866
Rank Union Army major general rank insignia.svg Brevet Major General
Commands held 47th Indiana Volunteer Infantry

American Civil War

Other work lawyer, Indiana legislator

James Richard Slack (September 28, 1818 – July 28, 1881) was an Indiana politician and a Union general during the American Civil War.

Early life[edit]

Slack was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1818. His family moved to Indiana in 1837 where he worked as a farm hand on his father's farm. He also worked as a teacher, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1840. He moved to Huntington, Indiana where he became involved in politics, first as county auditor then as a state senator.[1]

Civil War[edit]

On December 13, 1861 Slack was appointed colonel of the 47th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.[2] Shortly after he assumed command of a brigade in the Army of the Mississippi. During the Battle of Island Number Ten he commanded the 1st Brigade in General John M. Palmer's 3rd Division of the Army of the Mississippi. After that, Slack led his regiment in several expeditions in the Mississippi Valley.

In 1863 he was again in brigade command during the Vicksburg Campaign where he led the 2nd Brigade, 12th Division, XIII Corps. During the siege of Vicksburg he was transferred to command the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, XIII Corps. He remained in command of this brigade during the Red River Campaign. During the fall of 1864 he commanded the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, XIX Corps and was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on November 10, 1864.[3]

By the end of the war General Slack was in command of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division XIII Corps which he led at the battle of Fort Blakely. He received a brevet promotion to major general on March 13, 1865 and was assigned command at Brazos Santiago,Texas, until sent home to Indiana to be with the 47th Indiana when they mustered out of the army.[4] He was mustered out of volunteers on January 15, 1866.[5]

Post war[edit]

After the war General Slack returned to Huntington to resume his law practice. He was appointed to the 28th Judicial Circuit and ran for U.S. Congress in 1881 but was defeated. Slack died while visiting Chicago in 1881. He was buried in Huntington.[6]


  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Williamson, David, The 47th Indiana Volunteer Infantry: A Civil War History, McFarland & Company, Publishers, 2012, ISBN 0786465956.
  • Williamson, David, ed., Slack's War: Selected Civil War Letters of General James R. Slack, 47th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, to His Wife, Ann, 1862-1865, CreateSpace, 2012, ISBN 1478379588.
  1. ^ Civil War Indiana Biographies: James Richard Slack
  2. ^ Eicher p.490
  3. ^ Eicher p.490
  4. ^ Williamson, Slack's War,p. 303
  5. ^ Civil War Indiana Biographies: James Richard Slack
  6. ^ Civil War Indiana Biographies: James Richard Slack