August 7

This Day in History

Civil War

Aug 7, 1836:

Confederate General Evander Law is born

Confederate General Evander Law is born in Darlington, South Carolina. Law had a distinguished career in the Confederate army and earned a reputation as a brave and effective field commander.

Law, who attended the Citadel and studied law after his graduation, built a prewar career as a military instructor. After teaching briefly at the Citadel, Law instructed at King's Mountain Military Academy in South Carolina. He then moved to Tuskeegee, Alabama, to open a new military school. When the war broke out, Law became a lieutenant colonel in the Fourth Alabama Infantry.

Law's unit saw immediate action at the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia in July 1861. He was wounded, but was promoted to colonel shortly afterward, and fought at the Seven Days’ Battles and Second Bull Run in Virginia, and at Antietam in Maryland. His leadership at Antietam earned him a promotion to brigadier general in October 1862. He was also cited for bravery at Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he led his troops on foot after his horse was shot out from under him. Although he advanced quickly in the army, he also feuded with his corps commander, James Longstreet.

Law served in General John Bell Hood's division, and led the attack on Little Round Top at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He assumed command of the division when Hood was seriously wounded. Law and his troops, along with the rest of Longstreet's corps, were sent to assist fighting in the west. At Chickamauga, Georgia, he took over after Hood was again wounded in battle. He then returned to Virginia, and fought in the campaign of 1864 before suffering a serious wound himself at the Battle of Cold Harbor. He spent most of 1864 recovering, and at the end of the war was in General Joseph Johnston's army, which surrendered to General William T. Sherman in North Carolina.

After the war, Law returned to his career as a military instructor, primarily at a school he founded in Bartow, Florida. He was the last surviving Confederate general before his death in 1920.

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