A Civil War Biography
Archibald Gracie, Jr.
Gracie was born 1 December 1832 in New York City, New York. A member
of a prominent New York Huguenot family, he was sent to study in
Heidelberg, Germany. He then attended West Point graduating 14th in
the class of 1854 and was assigned duty on the northwestern
frontier. He resigned from the army in 1856 to join his father in
the cotton-brokerage business in Mobile, Alabama. Gracie joined the
state militia becoming a captain in Mobile's Washington Light
Infantry. As the secession crisis intensified Gracie aligned himself
with Alabama Governor Andrew B. Moore. On Moore's orders Gracie
seized the federal arsenal at Mount Vernon, Alabama.
After Alabama formally left the Union the Washington Light Infantry
was incorporated into the 3rd Alabama infantry regiment with Gracie
as a company commander. The 3rd was sent to Virginia. Gracie was
promoted to major and assigned to the 11th Alabama on 12 July 1861.
He returned to Mobile in early 1862 and organized the 43rd Alabama
of which he was elected colonel. He commanded the 43rd during the
East Tennessee and Kentucky campaign for which he was promoted to
brigadier general to rank from 4 November 1862. He commanded a
brigade in William Preston's division of Simon B. Buckner's Corps at
Chickamauga, the seige of Knoxville, and at Bean's Station where on
14 December 1863 Gracie was severely wounded. Following his recovery
he was sent to Virginia and assigned in May 1864 to the command of
P.G.T. Beauregard. While in the siege lines at Petersburg Gracie was
killed by Union artillery on 2 December 1864, while observing enemy
movements. Following the war Gracie's father had his remains moved
to New York City. Gracie was eulogized in the poem, "Gracie of
Alabama" by Francis O. Ticknor.
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