Maxcy Gregg in 1862
|Birth name||Maxcy Gregg|
August 1, 1814|
Columbia, South Carolina
|Died||December 15, 1862
|Allegiance|| United States of America
Confederate States of America
|Service/branch|| United States Army
Confederate States Army
|Years of service||1846-1848 (USA)
|Rank|| Major (USA)
Brigadier General (CSA)
Maxcy Gregg (August 1, 1814 – December 15, 1862) was a lawyer, soldier in the United States Army during the Mexican-American War, and a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg and died two days later.
Gregg was born in Columbia, South Carolina, the great-grandson of Esek Hopkins, commodore of the Continental Navy, and grandson of Jonathan Maxcy first president of South Carolina College (now called the University of South Carolina), where Gregg would later attend and graduate first in his class. He was admitted to the South Carolina bar in 1839, practiced law with his father, and was a very respected member of Columbia society. His first military experience came as a major in the 12th U.S. Infantry in the war with Mexico, but did not arrive in time to participate in any of the major battles. Gregg had many scholarly pursuits, including astronomy, botany, ornithology, and languages, and owned his own private observatory. Maxcy Gergg was a strong advocate of states rights his entire life, one of the South Carolina Fire-Eaters. He was a member of the 1860 convention which determined the secession of South Carolina. He was also a lifelong bachelor.
Gregg was a major proponent of secession prior to the commencement of the Civil War. In 1858, he issued the secessionists' manifesto in a pamphlet entitled, "An Appeal to the State Rights Party of South Carolina." In it, Gregg argued that Carolinians had looked unfavorably upon and rejected incorporation into the Democratic Party since the tariff controversy. Andrew P. Calhoun, James Tradewell, A.C. Garlington, and W.E. Martin also contributed statements to the "Appeal."
When South Carolina seceded from the Union in December 1860, Gregg helped organize the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, and served as the regiment's first colonel. He became a brigadier general and served in A. P. Hill's Light Division. His brigade played a prominent role in Hill's assault on the Union lines at the Battle of Gaines' Mill. Gregg gained prominence at the Second Battle of Bull Run when his men repulsed six Union assaults, and he served in Robert E. Lee's Maryland Campaign. At Antietam he was wounded in the thigh by the same bullet that killed Brig. Gen. Lawrence O'Bryan Branch.
At Fredericksburg, Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's troops penetrated the lines of the Light Division. In the confusion, Gregg mistook a Union brigade for retreating Confederates and was shot in the back. The bullet severed his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He succumbed to his injury two days later, saying on his deathbed "I yield my life cheerfully, fighting for the independence of South Carolina."
In popular media
- Manisha Sinha, The Counter-Revolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 193.
- Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1.
- Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4.
- Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959. ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9.