Reuben Walker Carswell
|Reuben Walker Carswell|
September 29, 1837|
|Died||January 11, 1889
|Buried at||Louisville, Georgia|
|Allegiance||Confederate States of America|
|Service/branch||Confederate States Army
|Years of service||1861–1863; 1863–1865|
|Rank|| Lieutenant Colonel, CSA
Brigadier General, Georgia militia
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
|Other work||Lawyer; Judge; State Legislator|
Reuben Walker Carswell (September 29, 1837 – January 11, 1889) was a lawyer, member of the Georgia State Legislature, Confederate States Army lieutenant colonel and brigadier general in the Georgia militia during the American Civil War, and, after the war, a lawyer and judge.
Reuben W. Carswell was born at "Middle Ground" Plantation near Louisville, Georgia on September 29, 1837. His parents were Edward Rhodes Carswell, a Georgia state representative, and Mary Celesta (Walker) Carswell.
Carswell was educated in his home county, Jefferson County, Georgia and at Emory University from which he graduated in the class of 1856. He then studied law under future Confederate Major General (temporary) Ambrose R. Wright. After being admitted to the bar, he practiced law with his cousin, William Carswell. Reuben Carswell served as a Georgia state representative in 1858–1860.
American Civil War service
Reuben W. Carswell started his Civil War service on June 14, 1861 as a second lieutenant in the 20th Georgia Infantry Regiment. He was appointed captain in the 48th Georgia Infantry Regiment in March 1862. On March 22, 1862, Carswell was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 48th Georgia Infantry. The 48th Georgia Infantry Regiment was in a brigade commanded by then Brigadier General Ambrose Wright, Carswell's mentor as a lawyer. Carswell performed with distinction during the Seven Days Battles and at the Battle of Chancellorsville.
As the Union Army under Major General William T. Sherman began to advance in Georgia in May 1864, Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown appointed Carswell a brigadier general in the Georgia militia. Carswell led the 1st Brigade of the Georgia militia in opposition to the Union Army under Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign and Sherman's March to the Sea. The brigade fought at the Battle of Ruff's Station, now Smyrna, Georgia on July 4, 1864, the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864 and during the subsequent siege of Atlanta until the fall of the city on September 2, 1864.
Governor Brown furloughed the militia for 30 days so the men could harvest their crops. The men returned in October and skirmished with Sherman's men along their march to Savannah, Georgia. Carswell's brigade set out early from Macon, Georgia and missed the Battle of Griswoldville in which Sherman's forces decimated the other brigades of Georgia militia that attacked a Union brigade at Griswoldville, near Macon. Carswell commanded his brigade at Savannah in December 1864 until the city fell to the Union force. As Sherman took his men to South Carolina, the Georgia militia remained in its home state. Carswell surrendered to the Union Army on May 20, 1865 at Augusta, Georgia. He was paroled as a brigadier general of Georgia militia.
Carswell returned to his law practice after the war. He was elected judge of the Superior Courts of the Middle Circuit of Georgia in 1880. Ill health forced him to resign six years later.
On July 13, 1933, Mrs. Belle Stokes Carswell Hudson applied for a Confederate widow's pension from the State of Florida as the widow of Reuben Walker Carswell, having married him in February 1881. The application also states that the applicant remarried in January 1889, after Carswell died, although in the same month that he died, and that she had lived in Florida since 1923.
- Allardice, Bruce S. More Generals in Gray. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8071-3148-2 (pbk.). p. 52.
- Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 166.
- Massey, R. J. Reuben W. Walker. In Northen, ed., William J. Men of Mark in Georgia. Volume 3. Atlanta: A.B. Caldwell, 1907-1912. OCLC 7068994. p. 417.
- Massey gives a date of birth for Carswell of September 26, 1828. Allardice says the 1837 date accords with Emory University records and with the 1850 and 1860 United States Census returns.
- Massey says that Carswell graduated from Emory University in 1850 but Allardice says that Emory University records show that he graduated in 1856.
- Massey says Carswell was re-elected in 1860. Allardice simply says he served until 1860.
- Massey does not give Miss Walker's first name.
- Eicher, 2001, p. 166 says that Carswell was a brigadier general in the Provisional Army of Virginia between April 27, 1861 and June 8, 1861. This is dubious because of the nature of that organization as essentially an enlarged state militia and the circumstances at the beginning of the Civil War. Such a position for Carswell is not mentioned by Allardice or Massey.
- Eicher, 2001, p. 166 says Carswell was promoted to first lieutenant of the 20th Georgia Infantry on March 7, 1862 and resigned the next day. His appointment in the 48th Georgia Infantry followed.
- Eicher, 2001, p. 166 states that Carswell did not resign his Confederate States Army commission as a lieutenant colonel until November 12, 1864. This is supported by the web site Cobbs Legion web site which also states that Major Matthew Robert Hall succeeded Carswell as lieutenant colonel on December 24, 1863. The site states that Hall later became colonel of the regiment on January 19, 1865, to rank from November 12, 1864. The colonel of the regiment, William Gibson, who had been captured at the Battle of Gettysburg and later exchanged, had also resigned on that date. On the other hand, a June 19, 1933 letter from the Adjutant General of the United States states that Carswell resigned as lieutenant colonel of the regiment on December 13, 1863 and that in addition to his election to the state legislature, he was in ill health. Adjutant General Letter. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Allardice, 1995, p. 52–53.
- Allaridce, 1995, p. 53.
- Hudson pension application. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Adjutant General June 13, 1933 Letter on Carswell service. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Allardice, Bruce S. More Generals in Gray. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8071-1967-9.
- Cobbs Legion web site information on 48th Georgia Infantry Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
- Hudson, second Carswell wife, pension application. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Massey, R. J. Reuben W. Carswell. In Northen, ed., William J. Men of Mark in Georgia. Volume 3. Atlanta: A.B. Caldwell, 1907-1912. OCLC 7068994.