Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alfred Holt Colquitt: A man of many talents

Alfred Holt Colquitt before his 1862 promotion

       Alfred Holt Colquitt became many things during his sixty-nine years on this earth. He was born in Georgia in 1824, the son of a United States Senator. Young Alfred graduated from Princeton and became a lawyer. He served in the United States Army during the Mexican War being commissioned a major. Returning from the Mexican War, Colquitt began to dabble in politics becoming a United States Congressman and serving in the Georgia State Legislature.
       When the Civil War began, Colquitt became a captain in the 6th Georgia Infantry. By the time the regiment saw action at Seven Pines, Colquitt had become colonel. He led the regiment throughout the Seven Days and was promoted to brigadier general before Lee's army invaded Maryland. He would command a brigade at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. His brigade was so under-strength following the latter battle that General Lee sent Colquitt and his men back to Georgia to recruit. 

Colquitt sometime after his promotion in 1862

       Colquitt and his brigade would next see action in Florida. They were sent there and placed under the command of Brigadier General Joseph Finegan. They were sent there to stop and invasion of 5,000 men under Federal Brigadier General Truman Seymour. Against orders, the Federal general began his invasion meeting Colquitt and Finegan at the Battle of Olustee. Both forces were about equal, but the Federal army lost over 2000 men, while the Confederate's lost less than a thousand. It was one of Colquitt's best days as a commander. Not only had they stopped the invasion, but had defeated the famed 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry.
       During the Siege of Petersburg, Colquitt's brigade would again be sent to Virginia to serve under General Lee. Despite having seen some of the war's fiercest fighting, especially at Antietam, Colquitt came through the war without a scratch. He returned to Georgia and eventually became governor of the state for two terms and was elected to two terms in the United States Senate. He would die while serving there. 

Colquitt in his later years

       During the Civil War, he was called a competent and inspiring commander. He suffered a stroke in 1893 and was paralyzed on one side of his body for the last six months of his life. Unable to speak, he suffered another stroke on March 26, 1894 and died. He rests today in Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon, Georgia. He'd accomplished a lot in his life, fighting in two wars, serving in both houses of congress, the Georgia legislature, a lawyer, governor and at one point in his life he became a preacher. 

Colquitt's grave


  1. I did not realize what a talented man he was. Makes me treasure his autograph even more. I love learning more about the Generals we have worked so hard together on to display. Thanks!

  2. What you have failed to let everyone know is that Alfred had a younger brother Peyton (which is the first photo you have posted) Peyton served very honorably in the Civil War and was one of four officers to be killed at The Battle of Chickamuga. If you are going to acknowledge one you should acknowledge BOTH

    1. You are correct about the first photograph. That is another reason why The Confederate Generals books need to be rewritten. This photograph is in the book listed as Alfred Colquitt. I have actually visited the grave of Peyton Colquitt and the place where he was killed.