Friday, July 10, 2015

Brigadier-General William E. Baldwin.

Brigadier-General William E. Baldwin entered the Confederate service early in 1861 and was commissioned colonel of the Fourteenth Mississippi infantry. He was assigned to the army in central Kentucky and in February, with his command, constituted part of the force at Fort Donelson. The important part borne by him and his troops at that important post is best told in the report of General Pillow, who said: "I speak with special commendation of the brigades commanded by Colonels Baldwin. Wharton, McCausland, Simon ton and Drake." And again, "Colonel Baldwin's brigade constituted the front of the attacking force, sustained immediately by- Colonel Wharton's brigade.

These two brigades deserve especial commendation for the manner in which they sustained the first shock of battle, and under circumstances of great embarrassment threw themselves into position and followed up the conflict throughout the day. Being mostly with these two brigades, I can speak from personal knowledge of the gallant conduct and bearing of the two brigade commanders, Colonels Baldwin and Wharton. Baldwin and his command were involved in the surrender of Donelson.

After being exchanged he was assigned v the army of West Tennessee, and on December 6, 1862,  was engaged in a spirited and successful battle at Coffee- ville. General Tilghman, who commanded on this occasion, says in his report: "I take special pleasure in mentioning the names of Brig. -Gen. W. E. Baldwin, of my own division, and Col. A. P.Thompson, commanding a brigade in General Rust's division. These officers, in command on my right and left, displayed the greatest good judgment and gallantry. ' ' General Baldwin had received his brigadier-general's commission on the 19th of September, 1862.

His command consisted of the Twentieth and Twenty-sixth Mississippi and the Twenty-sixth Tennessee regiments of infantry. He led this brigade at Port Gibson, Baker's Creek (Champion's Hill), the Big Black, and through the siege of Vicksburg. Here he was a second time made prisoner of war and paroled. After his exchange he was assigned to the command of a brigade in the district of Mobile. His further participation in the war was, however, soon cut short by his death, which occurred on the 19th day of February, 1864. In his death the Confederacy lost a gallant and efficient soldier and Mississippi an illustrious citizen.

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