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Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge




Born: January 16, 1821

Lexington, Kentucky

Died: May 17, 1875

Lexington, Kentucky





November 2, 1861: Brigadier General

April 14, 1862: Major General

John C. Breckinridge

by Eliphalet Frazer Andrews

1849: Elected as a Democrat to Kentucky House of Representatives

1851: Elected to U.S. House of Representatives

1856: Vice President under President Buchanan

Joined Buchanan in supporting pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution for Kansas

1859: Elected to succeed Senator John Crittenden at the end of Crittenden term in 1861

1861: With the Southern States seceding, fled behind Confederate lines and war

November 2, 1861: Commissioned as a Brigadier General and expelled from the Senate

April 6-7, 1862: Battle of Shiloh

August 5, 1862: Battle of Baton Rouge

December 31-January 2, 1863: Battle of Stone's River

May 14, 1863: Battle of Jackson, Mississippi

September 19-20, 1863: Battle of Chickamauga

November 23-25, 1863: Battle of Chattanooga

May 15, 1864: Battle of New Market

May 31-June 12, 1864: Battle of Cold Harbor

June 5, 1864: Battle of Piedmont

June 17-18, 1864: Battle of Lynchburg

July 9, 1864: Battle of Monocacy

July 17-18, 1864: Battle of Cool Spring

November 11-13, 1864: Battle of Bull's Gap

December 17-18, 1864: Battle of Marion

January 19, 1865: President Davis appointed Breckinridge as Secretary of War

First act was to promote Robert E. Lee to General-in-Chief of all Confederate forces

Late February, Breckinridge concluded the Confederate cause was hopeless and began laying the groundwork for surrender

Ordered his assistant, John Archibald Campbell, to organize the flight of the Confederate cabinet to Danville, Virginia

At Bennett Place, assisted Gen. Johnston in his surrender negotiations with Maj. Gen. Sherman

With the assassination of President Lincoln, Breckinridge stated: "Gentlemen, the South has lost its best friend."

May 4, 1865: Arrived in Washington, Georgia. After paying out several requisitions from the treasury, and deposited the rest, He also composed a letter disbanding the War Department

Escaped down the Florida coast to Cuba. He then booked passage to Great Britain. From there he booked passage to Canada to be with his family.

It was suggested that Mrs. Breckinridge should move to France for her health

They toured Europe and the Middle East

Pres. Johnson proclaimed amnesty for all former Confederates on December 25, 1868. Breckinridge stayed in Canada to receive assurance it applied to him

February 10, 1869: Left Canada and headed for Lexington

March 1870: Publicly denounced the actions of the Ku Klux Klan

1872: Supported passage of a state statute which successfully legalized Black testimony against whites in court

1873: Began to experience health problems which was referred to as "pleuro-pneumonia"

May 1875: Consulted with surgeons who concluded his ill health was caused by cirrhosis brought on by injuries to his liver suffered during the war

Immediate concern was one of his lungs was filled two-thirds with fluid

Boatner, Mark M., III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: David McKay, 1967. p 82-83

John C. Breckinridge. 17 November 2020. web. 20 November 2020.

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State, 1992. p 34-35

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