Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Carnot Posey, born August 5, 1818

Carnot Posey was born near Woodville in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, the second son and fourth of eight children of planter John Brooke Posey and Elizabeth Screven Posey. 

Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi
He attended the common schools and then graduated from college in Jackson, Mississippi, before studying law at the University of Virginia.

University of Virginia

He returned to his family's plantation and later established a law practice in Woodville.  

He was 42 years old when the Civil War began.

Woodville, Mississippi Historical Marker
He married Mary Collins in May 1840 and they had two sons. Mary Posey died in 1844.

Jefferson Davis
When the Mexican-American War erupted, Posey was commissioned a first lieutenant in the 1st Mississippi Rifles, a volunteer regiment commanded by Colonel Jefferson Davis. Posey fought at the Battle of Buena Vista, where he was wounded.

Battle of Buena Vista
Returning to Woodville after the war, Posey married Jane White in February 1849. They would eventually have six children.

Carnot Posey Home in Woodville, Mississippi
Considered a "deeply religious man", Posey converted to Roman Catholicism. Prior to the building of a Catholic Church in Woodville, Catholic services were held at Posey's home.

U.S. President James Buchanan appointed Posey as the district attorney for southern Mississippi, a post he held when the state seceded from the Union.

Mississippi Counties Forming the 16th Mississippi Infantry

Posey recruited a local militia company, the Wilkinson Rifles, and enlisted them into Confederate service, serving as their captain from May 21, 1861. They became part of the 16th Mississippi Infantry, with Posey being selected as the regiment's first colonel on June . 

His two oldest sons from his first marriage, Stanhope and Jefferson, also served as officers in the Confederate Army.  Stanhope served as assistant adjutant general to his father.

Battle of Cross Keys
At the Battle of Cross Keys, June 8, 1862, Posey was struck in the chest and arm. He was incapacitated for two months. The 16th Mississippi was transferred to the Eastern Theater in August 1862. Before his wounds fully recovered, Posey returned to fight alongside his men at Second Manassas, Aug. 30, 1862 .

Winfield Scott Featherston
When General Winfield Scott Featherston became ill, Posey served as the temporary commander of the brigade of four Mississippi infantry regiments, during the Northern Virginia Campaign and the Maryland Campaign. Posey continued in command of the brigade through the capture of Harper's Ferry and Battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam and until November, when Featherston returned.

Confederate Dead at Sunken Road, Antietam
In November 1862 he was promoted to Brigadier General (confirmed January 1863).

Union Attack on Rebel Works at Fredericksburg
Illustration by Alfred Waud
He commanded Posey's Brigade at Fredericksburg in December 1862, successfully repelling a Union attack. 

Confederate Dead at Chancellorsville
In May 1863, Posey's Brigade saw limited action at the Battle of Chancellorsville, maintaining a reserve position at Salem Church.  

Richard Anderson
During the army reorganization following Stonewall Jackson's death, Posey's Brigade was assigned to General Richard Anderson's division of the Third (A.P. Hill's) Corps.

Cemetery Ridge
During the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, the brigade was part of Anderson's July 2 attack on Cemetery Ridge.

Posey Brigade Monument, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
12th 16th 19th 48th Mississippi Infantry
July 2. Arrived and took position here in the morning. Through some misunderstanding of orders instead of the Brigade advancing in compact ranks in support of the troops on its right in their assault on the Union lines the regiments were ordered forward at different times. Deployed as skirmishers and fighting in detachments they pushed back the Union outposts and drove some artillerists for awhile from their guns but did not join in the attack upon the Union position on Cemetery Ridge.
July 3. Was held in reserve here supporting artillery in its front.

Present 1150 Killed 12 Wounded 71 Total 83
Illustration of Battle of Bristoe Station in Harpers Weekly
During the fall campaign, Posey was wounded in the left thigh by a shell fragment at the Battle of Bristoe Station on October 14, 1863. It was a relatively minor wound, and he was initially taken to Culpeper Court House for medical treatment.
The Lawn, University of Virginia

Infection set in and he was transported for care to the University of Virginia, where the rooms on the Lawn all served as Confederate hospital rooms.

West Lawn Room
He was placed in the same room, Room 33, West Lawn, where he had lived many years earlier as a University of Virginia law student.  

John S. Davis

He died on November 13, 1863, in the home of his good friend, Dr. John S. Davis, in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was 45 years old.

Posey was buried in the Davis family plot in the cemetery of the University of Virginia. 

Grave of Carnot Posey
His widow was left with the care of their six children; the oldest was 13 years old and the youngest was 4 years old. Jane Posey never remarried.


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  2. A thorough and well illustrated biography on a relatively unknown (till now) civil war general.

    Dr. John Staige Davis, Professor of Anatomy and Medical Arts at the University of Virginia, also treated Posey following the Battle of Cross Keys. Davis lived in one of the UVA Lawn residences, as did other professors. His father, John A. G. Davis, had been Posey's law professor at UVA in 1836. Dr. Davis had Posey buried in the Davis family plot at the University Cemetery.