BG Richard Brooke Garnett

Commanded - 1862

Born November 21, 1817 - Died  July 3, 1863 (KIA)


Born at "Rose Hill",  the family mansion in Essex County, Virginia. Garnett received his early education near home and in Norfolk. He graduated from the USMA in 1841, served in the Seminole war.  For several years, during the Mexican War, he held a staff position in New Orleans. Promoted to first lieutenant in 1847, Garnett later commanded Fort Laramie against the sometimes troublesome Sioux, traveled as a recruiting officer, and, after his promotion to captain in 1855, served at various other points on the western frontier. He resigned his US commission (as Captain) May 17, 1861. He was commissioned Major CSA, and in November 1861 Brigadier General in the Provisional Army. Subsequently, he was appointed second-in-command of then Colonel Thomas R.R. Cobb's Georgia Legion, and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in early September. After brief service with the legion on the Peninsula, Garnett received his promotion to Brigadier General and was immediately assigned to the Shenandoah Valley, coming under command of General Thomas J. Jackson. By spring 1862, the new brigadier commanded Jackson’s old troops, now known as the Stonewall Brigade.  He commanded the Stonewall Brigade in the Shenandoah Valley campaign and at Kernstown. 


He was then assigned to Maj. Gen. James Longstreet's First Corps after charges brought by General Jackson were dismissed. In early September, Garnett thus took command of a brigade of Virginians - the 8th, 18th, 19th, 28th, and 56th Infantry Regiments - with which he served creditably at Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg. Garnett then took part in Longstreet's Suffolk campaign, returning to Richmond after the fatal wounding of General Jackson, May 2.  In Lee's second invasion of the North during June 1863, Garnett's five Virginia regiments marched northward as part of General Pickett's division, Longstreet's Corps. On July 3, 1863, Garnett’s brigade was in the front rank of the Pickett-Pettigrew charge at Gettysburg. Extremely ill, the general was wearing a heavy overcoat in spite of the heat. Garnett got to within twenty yards of the Federal lines when he disappeared in the gunsmoke and confusion. His riderless horse soon galloped toward the rear. Presumably, Federal soldiers stripped his dead body of its sword and other insignia before burying Garnett in one of the mass graves on the battlefield. The marker for General Richard Brooke Garnett in the Confederate Section of Hollywood Cemetery, reads: "Among the Confederate Soldiers' Graves in this area is the probable resting place of Brigadier General Richard Brooke Garnett C.S.A. who was killed in action July 3, 1863, as he led his Brigade in the charge of Pickett's Division on the final day of the battle of Gettysburg. First buried on the battlefield, General Garnett's remains were likely removed to this area in 1872 along with other Confederate dead brought from Gettysburg by the Hollywood Memorial Association. Requiescat in Pace Richard Brooke Garnett 1817 - 1863."


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Courtesy of the 116th Infantry Regiment Foundation, Inc.
Last Updated March 11, 2005
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