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William Lewis Cabell
Confederate General


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Utah Expedition March, 1857--July, 1858

Brigadier-General William L. Cabell was born in Danville, Va., January 1, 1827, the third child of Gen. Benjamin W. S. and Sarah Eppes Cabell, who lived to see seven sons and two daughters grown. Six sons held prominent positions in the Confederate army. The other, Dr. Powhatan Cabell, died from the effect of an arrow wound received in Florida just before the Confederate war began. General Cabell was graduated at the military academy at West Point in 1850, entered the United States army as second lieutenant, and was assigned to the Seventh infantry. In June, 1855, he was promoted to first lieutenant and made regimental quartermaster of that regiment. In March, 1858, he was promoted to captain in the quartermaster department and assigned to the staff of Gen. Persifer F. Smith, then in command of the Utah expedition. When the war became inevitable, Captain Cabell repaired to Fort Smith, Ark., and from there went to Little Rock and offered his services to the governor of the State. On receipt of a telegram from President. Davis he went to Montgomery, Ala., then the Confederate capital, where he found the acceptance of his resignation from the United States army, signed by President Lincoln. He was at once commissioned major, Confederate States army, and under orders from President Davis left on April 21st for Richmond to organize the quartermaster, commissary and ordnance departments. Later he was sent to Manassas to report to General Beauregard as chief quartermaster of the army of the Potomac. After Gen. Joseph E. Johnston assumed command, Major Cabell served on his staff until January 15, 1862, when he was ordered to report to Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, by whom he was assigned to General Van Dorn, with headquarters then at Jacksonport, Ark. He was next promoted to the rank of brigadier-general and put in command of all the troops on White river, Ark., where he held the enemy in check until after the battle of Elkhorn Tavern, March 7th and 8th. After that battle the army was transferred to the east side of the Mississippi. The removal of this army, which included Price's Missouri and McCulloch's Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas troops, and his own command, devolved on General Cabell, and was performed within a single week from points along White river. Van Dorn's army proceeded, after reaching Memphis, to Corinth, and General Cabell was assigned to a Texas brigade with an Arkansas regiment attached. He led this brigade in several engagements around Corinth, and commanded the rear of the army on the retreat from Corinth to Tupelo.. After Bragg had moved into Tennessee, Cabell was transferred to an Arkansas brigade, which he commanded in the battles of luka and Saltillo in September, at Corinth on October 2 and 3, 1862, and at Hatchie Bridge on the 4th. He was wounded leading the charge of his brigade on the breastworks at Corinth and also at Hatchie Bridge, which disabled him for duty in the field. What was left of his command was temporarily assigned to the First Missouri brigade under General Bowen, and he was ordered to the Trans-Mississippi department to recover from his wounds and inspect the staff departments of that army. When his strength was sufficiently restored he was, in February, 1863, put in command of northwest Arkansas, with instructions to augment his forces by recruits from every part of the State. In this he was very successful, organizing one of the largest cavalry brigades west of the Mississippi, which he thereafter commanded in more than twenty battles. He took a prominent part in the engagements at Poison Spring and Marks' Mills, in April, 1864, commanding two brigades of Pagan's division. In his report of the campaign ending at Jenkins' Ferry, General Marmaduke wrote that, "To speak of the quick perception and foresight or the reckless bravery of Shelby, the e"lan and chivalrous bearing of Cabell, inspiring all who looked upon him, or the perseverance, untiring energy and steady courage of Greene, would be telling a twice-told tale." During the raid into Missouri under General Price he was captured in battle near the Little Osage river, October 25, 1864, and was taken to Johnson's island, Lake Erie, and later to Fort Warren, near Boston, and held until August 28, 1865. General Cabell is now a resident of Dallas, Tex., and holds the rank of lieutenant-general United Confederate Veterans, commanding the Trans-Mississippi department. His wife, the daughter of Maj. Elias Rector, of Arkansas, is a woman of great intelligence and courage, and noted for her ready wit. During the war she followed her husband and did much to relieve the sick and wounded.
Confederate Military History
Side Confederate
State Arkansas
Born January 1, 1827
Danville, Virginia
Died February 22, 1911
Dallas, Texas
Buried Greenwood Cemetery
Dallas, Texas

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