William Paul Roberts

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William Paul Roberts
William Paul Roberts.jpg
Born (1841-07-11)July 11, 1841
Gates County, North Carolina
Died March 28, 1910(1910-03-28) (aged 68)
Norfolk, Virginia
Place of burial Gatesville, North Carolina
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Years of service 1861–1865
Rank Confederate States of America General.png Brigadier General

American Civil War

Other work politician

William Paul Roberts (July 11, 1841 – March 28, 1910) was a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Appointed at the age of 23, he was the youngest Confederate general officer.

Early life[edit]

William Paul Roberts was born July 11, 1841 in Gates County, North Carolina, the son of John S. and Jane Roberts.[1]

Civil War[edit]

In 1861, at the age of 19, Roberts enlisted as a private in Company C of the 19th Regiment North Carolina Infantry, which would later be designated as the 2nd Regiment NC Cavalry. Having served with distinction during regimental operations in North Carolina, but with no formal military training, he was promoted to third lieutenant on August 30, 1861. On September 13, 1862, Roberts was promoted to First Lieutenant. Roberts' regiment was transferred to Virginia in the fall of the same year and took part in several battles, among them: Battle of Fredericksburg, Battle of Suffolk, and Battle of Brandy Station. On November 13, 1863, Roberts was promoted to captain and then major before the spring of 1864, when he fought in the North Carolina brigade of William Henry Fitzhugh Lee's division. He was promoted to colonel in June 1864 and during the Siege of Petersburg, he was given command of the 2nd Regiment NC Cavalry. Roberts led a charge against Union breastworks, dismounted, overtook the rifle pits and captured several Union soldiers at the Second Battle of Ream's Station on August 25, 1864. On February 23, 1865, Roberts was promoted to brigadier general. According to tradition, General Robert E. Lee presented Roberts with Lee's personal gauntlets in recognition of Roberts' distinguished service. Roberts continued the command of his brigade at the Battle of Five Forks, and eventually surrendered at the Battle of Appomattox Court House, on April 9, 1865.[1]

Post War life[edit]

Following the War, Roberts returned to Gates County, NC, where he married Eliza Ann Roberts. He entered state politics as the representative for Gates County at the Constitutional Convention in 1875. In 1876, Roberts was elected to the North Carolina legislature. He eventually became the North Carolina State Auditor and served in that capacity from 1880 until 1888.[1] In 1889, President Grover Cleveland appointed him United States Consul for Victoria, British Columbia.[2]


William Paul Roberts died in Norfolk, Virginia on March 28, 1910. He is buried in his home county at Gatesville, North Carolina.[1]

See also[edit]



External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Samuel L. Love
North Carolina State Auditor
Succeeded by
George W. Sandlin