|John McCausland, Jr.|
September 13, 1836|
St Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||January 22, 1927
Point Pleasant, West Virginia, U.S.
|Buried at||Henderson, West Virginia, U.S.|
|Years of service||1861–1865 (C.S.)|
|Commands held||36th Virginia Infantry|
John McCausland, Jr. (September 13, 1836 – January 22, 1927) was a brigadier general in the Confederate army, famous for the ransom of Hagerstown, Maryland, and the razing of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War.
Early life and education
McCausland was born in St. Louis, Missouri on September 13, 1836, the son of an immigrant from Ireland. He became an orphan in 1843 and went to live with relatives near Point Pleasant, Virginia, now in Mason County, West Virginia. He graduated with first honors in the class of 1857 at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). In 1858, after graduating from the University of Virginia, McCausland became an assistant professor of mathematics at VMI until 1861. In 1859 he was present with a group of VMI cadets at the execution of John Brown at Charles Town.
American Civil War
Immediately after the start of the U.S. Civil War, on July 16, 1861, McCausland was commissioned as a colonel and placed in command of the 36th Virginia Infantry Regiment. The regiment had been formed from the 2nd Kanawha Regiment and part of the 3rd Kanawha Regiment, which had been recruited heavily from the south-western counties of present-day West Virginia. He served in the brigade of Brigadier General John B. Floyd in western Virginia and was transferred with his regiment to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to serve in General Albert Sidney Johnston's army. He fought at the Battle of Fort Donelson and escaped with his command before the Confederates surrendered the fort in February 1862. For the remainder of 1862 and 1863 he fought in the Department of Southwest Virginia.
At the death of Confederate Brigadier General Albert Gallatin Jenkins, who was mortally wounded during the Union Army victory at the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain on May 9, 1864, McCausland took command of the Confederate forces. McCausland was promoted to brigadier general on May 18, 1864, and served as a cavalry brigade commander in the Valley Campaigns of 1864, under Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early, raiding into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Under Early's orders, on July 30, 1864, McCausland burned the town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, after it failed to pay an extortion demand, in retaliation for the destruction of private property by Union Army Major General David Hunter in the Shenandoah Valley, including the burning of the Virginia Military Institute. After the failure of Early's campaign, McCausland rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia in the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of Five Forks, and the Appomattox Campaign. He escaped with his cavalry from Appomattox Court House before Robert E. Lee's surrender, but disbanded his unit soon after. He was paroled in Charleston, West Virginia, on May 22, 1865.
Later life and death
After the war, McCausland spent two years in Europe and Mexico before returning to the United States. He faced arson charges for the burning of Chambersburg, but was pardoned by President Ulysses S. Grant. He acquired a tract of 6,000 acres (24 km²) in Mason County, West Virginia, where he lived as a farmer for more than 60 years.
McCausland died at his farm, "Grape Hill", in Pliny, near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on January 22, 1927, the last Confederate general to die. McCausland is buried in Henderson, West Virginia.
Eight years after his death, McCausland's son, Sam McCausland, shot and killed World War I Medal of Honor recipient Chester H. West, who was working for Sam as a farmhand, over what may have been a fight over Gen. John McCausland’s gun. Sam was convicted of second-degree murder.
- Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959. ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9. p. 197.
- Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1. p. 371.
- Sullivan, Ken, ed. The West Virginia Encyclopedia, Charleston, WV: The West Virginia Humanities Council, 2006. ISBN 978-0-9778498-0-2. p. 463.
- Warner, 1959, p. 198.
- Linger, James Carter, Confederate Military Units of West Virginia, Privately Published, 2002, pps. 30-31
- "Chambersburg War Damages". www.portal.state.pa.us. 1866-03-19. Archived from the original on February 10, 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
- "Franklin County: "The Burning of Chambersburg,"". valley.vcdh.virginia.edu. 1870-08-27. Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
- Davis, Jefferson (1990) [1881, published by D. Appleton and Company]. Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Volume II). New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 532–533. ISBN 0-306-80418-2.
- Eicher, 2001, pp. 371, 609. Felix Huston Robertson is often cited as the longest surviving general, dying on April 20, 1928, but his nomination for brigadier general was rejected by the Confederate Senate in February 1865. Warner, 1959, p. 260, lists Robertson as a Confederate general and states that he was the last Confederate general to die, notwithstanding that Warner also states that Robertson's July 26, 1864 appointment as brigadier general was rejected by the Confederate Senate on February 22, 1865.
- Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1.
- Linger, James Carter, Confederate Military Units of West Virginia, Privately Published, 2002.
- Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4.
- Sullivan, Ken, ed. The West Virginia Encyclopedia, Charleston, WV: The West Virginia Humanities Council, 2006. ISBN 978-0-9778498-0-2.
- Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959. ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9.
- Cooling, Benjamin Franklin. Jubal Early's Raid on Washington, 1864. Baltimore: Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America, 1989. ISBN 0-933852-86-X.
- Gallagher, Gary W., ed. The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864. Military Campaigns of the Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8078-3005-5.
- Haselberger, Fritz, Confederate Retaliation, McCausland's 1864 Raid, Burd Street Press, Shippensburg, PA, 2000.
- Gallagher, Gary W., ed. Struggle for the Shenandoah: Essays on the 1864 Valley Campaign. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-87338-429-6.
- Phillips, David L., Tiger John, The Rebel Who Burned Chambersburg, Gauley Mount Press, Leesburg, VA, 1993.