Stephen Elliott Jr.

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Stephen Elliott Jr.
Stephen Elliott, Jr.jpg
Born (1830-10-26)October 26, 1830
Beaufort, South Carolina
Died February 21, 1866(1866-02-21) (aged 35)
Aiken, South Carolina
Buried Beaufort, South Carolina
Allegiance Confederate States of America Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861–1865
Rank Confederate States of America General.png Brigadier General
Unit 11th South Carolina Infantry Regiment
Commands held Holcombe's Legion
Elliott's Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia
Elliott's Brigade, Army of Tennessee
Battles/wars

American Civil War

Other work State legislator

Stephen Elliott Jr. (October 26, 1830 – February 21, 1866), was a Confederate States Army brigadier general during the American Civil War. He was a planter, state legislator in South Carolina and militia officer before the Civil War and a fisherman after the war.[1] Elliott again was elected to the state legislature after the war but was unable to serve due to his early death.[2]

Early life[edit]

Stephen Elliott Jr. was born on October 26, 1830[3] in Beaufort, South Carolina.[1][2][4][5] He was the eldest son of Rev. Stephen Elliott[6] and Ann Hutson Habersham. Rev. Elliott was a large plantation owner as well as a preacher to the Black people of the area.[7]

Education[edit]

After studying at Harvard College for a time, he graduated from South Carolina College in 1850.[2][8] He became a planter on Parris Island, South Carolina.[2] Elliott also served in the South Carolina legislature.[1][8] He was captain of the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery, a militia company.[1][2][3][8] Elliott also was known for his skill as a yachtsman and a fisherman.[1][2][8] In 1854, he married Charlotte Stuart.[9]

American Civil War[edit]

Elliott served in the Confederate States Army within South Carolina from the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 until the spring of 1864, advancing from captain to colonel.[2] In order to participate in the bombardment of Fort Sumter, he attached himself to a different unit than his Beaufort Volunteer Artillery company.[3] The Beaufort Artillery company became an infantry company, so Elliott started his official Confederate Army service as a captain in the 11th South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment.[5] He participated in the defense of Port Royal, South Carolina.[2] He was wounded in the leg at an engagement at Fort Beauregard, South Carolina on November 7, 1861.[1] In August 1862, he was appointed Chief of Artillery for the 3rd military district of South Carolina.[4] He also made some raids against Union targets after the Union Army captured the South Carolina coastal islands, including making attacks with torpedoes.[3] On April 9, 1863, his raiders sank the steamer George Washington.[3] In 1863, he became major and then lieutenant colonel of artillery.[1] For a time in late 1863, he commanded the Confederate force at Fort Sumter, where he received a head wound during the bombardment of Charleston by Union forces on December 11, 1863.[1][3][4]

In the spring of 1864, Elliott was in command of Holcombe's Legion.[5] At that time, he was ordered to Petersburg, Virginia with his regiment.[2][3] He took command of Brigadier General Nathan G. Evans' old brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia.[2] He commanded his brigade at the Battle of the Wilderness.[4] On May 24, 1864, Elliott was promoted to brigadier general.[2][4][5] On June 16, 1864, Elliott's brigade counterattacked after a Union Army assault took some advanced Confederate trenches in the Petersburg defenses, establishing a salient in the Confederate line.[10] On July 30, 1864, Elliott's brigade was defending the Confederate line at Elliott's Salient near the spot the Union Army's mine blew, which precipitated the Battle of the Crater.[8] Elliott's brigade had nearly 700 soldiers killed or wounded in the explosion and ensuing battle.[3][11] Elliott was asleep in a "bombproof" near the line and awakened to find the destruction and chaos surrounding him.[12] Finding no troops nearby since he was close to the site of the explosion, he went to find his remaining men and organize a counterattack in line with a previous plan to deal with such a mine attack.[13] After finding two of his regiments mainly intact, Elliott led them forward, positioning them to defend against an assault and to counterattack.[13] He then impatiently jumped on the parapet to lead his men in the attack.[13] At this moment, Elliott was seriously wounded in the chest and left arm.[1]

After several months recovering from his wounds, which in fact had not healed properly,[14] Elliott joined General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee in North Carolina, where he led a brigade of former Charleston defenders and largely untested soldiers.[1][5][15] From January 2, 1865 through March 1865, the brigade was in Taliaferro's division of Hardee's corps.[1][2][5] For the few remaining weeks of the war, the brigade was in Anderson's division of Stewart's corps.[1][5]

At the Battle of Bentonville on March 19, 1865, Elliott ordered his brigade to charge the Union left flank when he found that his line overlapped the Union line.[14] The Union skirmish line was surprised and put to flight.[14] The brigade's success did not last as they were broken and sent into retreat when they charged the strong Union main line, which was supported by artillery.[16] At the point where the Confederate retreat halted, in the middle of an artillery barrage, Elliott tried to reform his brigade for another assault, despite receiving a piece of shrapnel in his leg.[17] In the event, Confederate commanders saw that the brigade was too shaken to make another attack and they were ordered simply to kneel or lie down and hold their ground.[18] Elliott had again received another serious wound.[1][2][5] His brigade surrendered with Johnston's army at Bennett Place near Durham Station, North Carolina.[5][19] Elliott had been sent home to convalesce from his latest wound before Johnston's surrender.[20] Although the Eichers found no record of his parole or pardon,[1] in his 1866 eulogy, Trescot noted that he had received a special Executive pardon at the request of Union General Quincy Gillmore, commanding at Hilton Head Island near Elliott's hut.[2][21]

Aftermath[edit]

After the Civil War, Elliott found that his plantation property had been seized for nonpayment of taxes and distributed to his former slaves.[22] They treated him well upon his return but it made it clear that the land no longer belonged to him.[22] Thereafter, he returned to a home in Charleston and a former fishing hut at the seashore, began to make a living as a fisherman and was again elected to the South Carolina legislature.[1][2][21] However, he was completely debilitated by his wounds and exposure and died before taking office on February 21, 1866,[1][4][23] at Aiken, South Carolina.[2][5] He was buried in St. Helena's Episcopal Churchyard at Beaufort, South Carolina.[1][2]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, p. 225, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1. (1. Sifakis says the reassignment of Elliott's brigade to Stewart's corps in 1865 took place on April 10 but Eicher gives the date as the month of March. This appears more likely since the Battle of Bentonville was in March. 2. Sifakis refers to Elliott "eventually surrendering with Johnston." Eicher states that there is no record of his parole or pardon. Bradley, 2000, p. 294 lists Lt. Col. J. Welsman Brown as in command of Elliott's brigade at the time of surrender. 3. Eicher states that Elliott was wounded in the arm at the Battle of Bentonville but Bradley, 1995, in an entire book about the battle, states that Elliott received a leg wound.)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, p. 81–82, 1959. ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Faust, Patricia L. "Elliott, Stephen. Jr." in Historical Times Illustrated History of the Civil War, New York: Harper & Row, pp. 239–240, 1986. ISBN 978-0-06-273116-6 (1. Unlike other sources, Faust gives the year of his birth as 1832. 2. Faust states that Elliott had to climb out of the crater at the Battle of the Crater during the Siege of Petersburg in order to rally his men. Slotkin says he merely needed to leave his "bombproof" near the site of the crater.)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Boatner, Mark Mayo, III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: McKay, 1988, First published New York, McKay, pp. 262–263, 1959. ISBN 978-0-8129-1726-0. (1. Boatner states that Elliott was mortally wounded at the Battle of the Crater and was sent home where he died on March 21, 1866. This contradicts other sources which say he was wounded again at the Battle of Bentonville and died February 21, 1866. Faust also gives the March 21, 1865 date but Eicher and Warner give February 21, 1866 and Slotkin simply gives February 1866. Sifakis merely says he died "a few months later.")
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, p. 203, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4
  6. ^ Episcopal bishop, Stephen Elliott, the only Presiding Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America, was Rev. Elliott's cousin. Contrary to the statements of Faust and Boatner, Stephen Elliott, Jr. was not the son of Bishop Stephen Elliott.
  7. ^ Trescot, William Henry, South Carolina General Assembly. House of Representatives. In Memoriam: General Stephen Elliott. Columbia, SC: Julian Selby and Co., State and City Printer, 1866. p. 14. OCLC 5529855. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d e Slotkin, Richard. No Quarter: The Battle of the Crater, 1864. New York: Random House, 2009. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-4000-6675-9
  9. ^ The Land We Love: A Monthly Magazine Devoted to Literature, Military History and Agriculture. Volume 4. Charlotte, NC: Hill, Irwin & Co., 1868. OCLC 77181305. p. 454. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
  10. ^ Slotkin, 2009, pp. 60–61
  11. ^ Slotkin, 2009, p. 328
  12. ^ Slotkin, 2009, p. 187
  13. ^ a b c Slotkin, 2009, p. 195
  14. ^ a b c Bradley, Mark L. Last Stand in the Carolinas: The Battle of Bentonville. Campbell, CA: Savas Publishing Co., 1995. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-882810-02-4
  15. ^ Bradley, 1995. p. 33
  16. ^ Bradley, 1995, pp. 279–283
  17. ^ Bradley, 1995, p. 286
  18. ^ Bradley, 1995, p. 290
  19. ^ Bradley, Mark L. This Astounding Close: The Road to Bennett Place. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000. pp. 214–217, 294. ISBN 978-0-8078-2565-5
  20. ^ Trescot, 1866, p. 27
  21. ^ a b Trescot, 1866, p. 28
  22. ^ a b Slotkin, 2009, p. 345
  23. ^ Freeman, Douglas S. Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command. Volume 3, p. 777. New York: Scribner, 1944. ISBN 0-684-10177-7

References[edit]

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