Brigadier General William Edwin Baldwin
Confederate Brigadier General William Edwin Baldwin was born in 1827 in South Carolina. He moved with his family at an early age to Columbus, Mississippi and that is where he would call home. As an adult, Baldwin owned a book store and served in a local militia company. He served as an officer in that company for twelve years.
When the Civil War began, he was made captain and the company became a part of the 14th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. The regiment was assigned to Pensacola, Florida where Baldwin became colonel commanding the regiment. He would soon be sent to Cumberland Gap and placed in charge of a brigade.
From there he was sent to Fort Donelson, Tennessee where he was placed in command of a brigade of Tennessee and Mississippi Infantry. His brigade led the breakout attempt there and he was commended for his courageous leadership. He was surrendered there with the rest of the fort and held prisoner of war for six months.
After being exchanged, Baldwin was promoted to brigadier general and sent to Mississippi. His brigade fought at the Battle of Port Gibson. During the siege of Vicksburg, Baldwin was wounded, but was soon back in command of his men. When Pemberton approached all his officers looking for support in surrendering his command, he received approval from all but one man. That man was William Baldwin who voted to hold out to the last man.
Baldwin was exchanged and sent to Mobile where he took command of a garrison of sixteen-hundred men. It was here that Baldwin would meet an early death. Although, many disagree as to what happened, we know that he died from a fall from his horse. It was reported that a stirrup broke and the fall resulted in his death.
As with all of history things are a little murky. Rumors were soon being spread that Baldwin had been intoxicated and riding his horse at high speed when he fell from the saddle. Many believe the story was changed to a broken stirrup in an attempt to save the man’s reputation.
Regardless of whether the rumors are true or not, William Edwin Baldwin was a brave officer and hero of the Civil War. Everyone makes mistakes and this should have no impact on the man’s war record.
William Edwin Baldwin was 36 years old. Initially buried in Mobile, he would be re-interred in Friendship Cemetery, Columbus, Mississippi where he rests today.
Resting place of General Baldwin