A Civil War Biography

Bryan Morel Thomas

Thomas was born 8 May 1836 in Milledgeville, Georgia. After attending Oglethorpe University in Georgia he was appointed to West Point, graduating 22nd in the class of 1858. His initial assignment was in the infantry on garrison duty in New York state. He then served on the frontier in Utah and New Mexico.

Thomas resigned his commission on 6 April 1861 in order to enter Confederate service. He was assigned to Jones M. Withers' staff as ordnance and artillery chief. Thomas saw his first action at Shiloh then took part in the Kentucky campaign in the fall of 1862. Following the battle of Perryville he went on sick leave but returned to his staff position in time to take part in the battle at Murfreesboro. In the summer of 1864 he was promoted to colonel and given command of an Alabama Reserves Cavalry regiment. He was promoted to brigadier general on 4 August 1864. The remainder of his military career was spent in command of a brigade in the defenses of Mobile, Alabama. He was captured on 9 April 1865 when Fort Blakely fell.

Following the war Thomas returned to Georgia and took up planting. He spent some time as a deputy US Marshall. In 1884 he founded a private academy. He relocated to Dalton, Georgia where he eventually became superintendent of that city's school system. He died in Dalton on 16 July 1905.

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