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Jones Mitchell Withers
Confederate General


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ARMY & DEPARTMENT COMMANDS [all commands chronologically]
Army of Mobile January 27-February 5, 1862

Major-General Jones M. Withers was born in Madison county, Ala., January 12, 1814. His father, John Withers, a native of Dinwiddie county, Va., was a planter and gentleman of culture. His mother was also a Virginia lady--Miss Jones, of Brunswick county. He attended the Greene academy in Huntsville, and at the age of seventeen was appointed, by President Jackson, a cadet at West Point. There he graduated, in 1835, as brevet second lieutenant, and served at Fort Leavenworth. In December of the same year he resigned and returned to his home; but he served, during the hostilities with the Creeks in 1836, on the staff of Maj.-Gen. Benjamin S. Patterson, in which capacity he went to Tuskegee to drill volunteers. On the arrival of General Jessup, he was transferred to the staff of that officer. When peace had been restored, he read law in Tuscaloosa, while acting as private secretary to Governor Clay. After being admitted to the bar he practiced awhile in Tuscaloosa, and then, going to Mobile, followed the business of a commission merchant, as well as his profession. In 1846 he volunteered as a private for the Mexican war in the company of Capt. W. E. Martin, and at the formation of the regiment in Mobile he was elected colonel. The government, however, did not need the services of the regiment, and only a portion of it got as far as New Orleans. He was, however, reappointed to the United States army, as lieutenant-colonel of the Thirteenth infantry, April 9, 1847, and was promoted to colonel of the Ninth infantry September 13th. At the close of the Mexican war he resigned and returned to mercantile pursuits. In 1855 he was a member of the legislature, and the next year mayor of Mobile, in which office he was continued year after year, until 1861. At the beginning of the Confederate war he was elected colonel of the Third Alabama infantry and proceeded with it to Norfolk, Va., were he was placed over a brigade, and in May was given command of the eastern division of the Norfolk department under General Huger. In July he received the commission of brigadier-general and was put in command of the defenses of Mobile. When the Confederates were concentrating for the attack upon Grant, Withers' brigade was brought to Corinth, and in the fierce battle of Shiloh he led a division of two brigades. At the reorganization of the army at Tupelo, he was assigned to command of the reserve division, right wing, army of the Mississippi, Maj.-Gen. Leonidas Polk, and promoted to major-general. In his command were included Gardner's Alabama brigade, Chalmers' Mississippi brigade, Jackson's Alabama and Mississippi brigade, Manigault's Alabama and South Carolina brigade. He led this division in Bragg's campaign in Kentucky, but did not participate in the battle of Perryville on account of being ordered to join the forces under Kirby Smith, just before the engagement. At the battle of Murfreesboro his division was posted west of the river, and was the front center division of the army, its right being the pivot on which the successful wheel of the army was made on December 29th. His skill and gallantry in the battle were highly commended by Polk and Bragg. His division had the most dangerous, difficult work of the day to perform, and they fought nobly, but with terrible loss, 2,500 out of 7,700 engaged. He continued in command of the division during the Tullahoma campaign, and until August 13, 1863, when he was succeeded by General Hindman. During the early part of 1864 he was in district command at Montgomery, and in July he was put in command of the reserve forces of the State, by order of the war department. This position he retained until the close of the war. He then resumed his residence at Mobile, and became editor of the Tribune newspaper of that city. In 1867 he was again elected mayor. His death occurred at Mobile, March 13, 1890.
Confederate Military History
Side Confederate
State Alabama
Born January 12, 1814
Madison County, Alabama
Died March 13, 1890
Mobile, Alabama
Buried Magnolia Cemetery
Mobile, Alabama

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