Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tennant Lomax: No Nobler Spirit

Colonel Tennant Lomax

       Tennant Lomax (sometimes spelled Tennent) was born in 1820 in South Carolina. After becoming an adult, he moved to Eufaula, Alabama and began a law practice. He served as a captain during the Mexican War and as governor of Orizaba, Mexico. His first wife Sophia Shorter died in 1850. He remarried in 1857 to Caroline Billingslea and moved to Montgomery, Alabama. When the war began, he became colonel of the 3rd Alabama Infantry. 

       Ordered to Pensacola, he fully expected orders to storm Fort Pickens, but the order never came from Montgomery. He paid a visit to the fort under a flag of truce. The officer there told him, "Colonel, we expected the honor of a visit from you some time ago." Lomax replied, "Sir, you would not have been disappointed had my wishes prevailed."

       His regiment was soon ordered to Norfolk, Virginia where it's twelve month service expired. Lomax then enlisted as a private, but his regiment soon re-enlisted for the duration of the war and he was it's colonel again. 

       His only action of the war occurred at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31, 1862. Lieutenant James Thompson of the 6th Alabama described his final moments. "The 3rd Alabama of the finest regiments in the service was passing. General (John Brown) Gordon, then our colonel, was standing near us. One of the finest looking officers we ever saw reined up his horse, shook hands with him, and while they were exchanging a few words, some of our troops asked, who is he? It was Col. Lomax. His regiment had passed. He told Colonel Gordon that this would be his first and his last battle, and with a smile and a salute, he galloped away toward the fighting to the head of his regiment and they passed out of sight. It seemed to us hardly time for their column to form in line before heavy volleys of musketry were opened in that direction, and soon after, heavy numbers of the regiment were passing wounded or being borne on litters. The gallant Lomax was among the dead."

       The Augusta Constitutionalist pays the following tributes to the memory of this gallant officer: "No nobler spirit ever gave his life in defence of his country than Tennant Lomax, Colonel of the Third Alabama regiment, who bravely fell in the late battle near Richmond. He was a man of towering form and commanding present, with a countenance beaming with intelligence, and bearing the stamp of high-toned honor and of every generous emotion. His life was gentle; and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up, and my to all the world, 'this was a man.'"

       Tennant Lomax was 41 years old. Brewer's Alabama: Her History, Resources, War Record and Public Men states that he was to receive a commission from Jefferson Davis to brigadier general the day he was killed. He rests today in Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Me at the grave of Tennant Lomax. Note his tombstone lists his age at 44.


  1. My family owns the original photograph of Tennant Lomax. I was given the middle name Lomax because of him. I use it with a proud sense of family history and I like to think that his spirit and devotion live on through me. I've wanted to visit his grave for some time now.

    1. Trying to figure out how to blog. . . . I'm a great grandson of a Civil War drummer boy who served under Tennant Lomax and named his first son after him. Looking for sources of archived letters, etc., on Lomax. Any ideas?

  2. Let me know when you can, and I will take you there!!!!