Brigader General William Montgomery Gardner


Birth: 8 June 1824, Augusta, Georgia

Death: 16 June 1901. Memphis, Tennessee
Buried: Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee

Appointed to the United States military academy, and was graduated in 1846, just in time to serve in the war with Mexico as brevet second lieutenant of the First infantry.

He was engaged in the siege of Vera Cruz and in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, in the last receiving a severe wound, and by his gallantry in both winning the brevet of first lieutenant. Recovering from his wound he was subsequently on garrison duty and scouting expeditions and other service of a soldier in the regular army, rising to the rank of captain.

He resigned 19 January 1861, when his native State seceded from the Union, and was with the first troops that went to Virginia in 1861, as lieutenant-colonel of the Eighth Georgia regiment, of which the lamented Colonel Francis Bartow (the 8th's first Colonel). In his report of the battle of First Manassas, General Beauregard, speaking of the time when the Confederates were hard pressed, says: "Heavy losses had now been sustained on our side, both in numbers and in the personal worth of the slain. The Eighth Georgia regiment had suffered heavily, being exposed, as it took and maintained its position, to a fire from the enemy, already posted within a hundred yards of their front and right, sheltered by fences and other cover. I t was at this time that Lieutenant Colonel Gardner was severely wounded, as also several other valuable officers. "

From the day of this battle, 21 July 1861, is dated Gardner's commission as colonel.

His wound was thought to be mortal, and some of the histories written years afterward speak of him as killed on that memorable day. He did linger long between life and death, and was never afterward able to take the active part that would have been his preference.

On 14 November 1861, he was commissioned brigadier general and put in command of the district of middle Florida, holding that position until 11 November 1863. He participated in the battle of Olustee, a fair, square, stand-up fight, in which the forces were nearly even, there being a little preponderance on the Federal side. The Confederate victory was decisive, the loss of the Union army being double that of its adversary. This battle saved Florida temporarily from invasion and ranks as one of the most complete Confederate victories during the war.

On 26 July 1864, General Gardner was assigned to the command of military prisons in States east of the Mississippi, excluding Georgia and Alabama. On November 28th, he was in command at Salisbury, N. C., and from January 1865 to April 2nd, he commanded the post at Richmond.

After the return of peace he lived for a time near Augusta, GA, and afterward moved to Rome, in the same State. Subsequently he moved to Memphis, Tenn., where he resided with his son.

Confederate Military History, Volume IV

Columbia Military POW Prison Page
Seed Corn Page

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Bil Brasington