A Civil War Biography

Danville Leadbetter

Leadbetter was born 26 August 1811 in Leeds, Maine. He graduated 3rd in the West Point class of 1836 and held positions in both the artillery and the engineers until he was permanently assigned to the engineers in July 1837. He was stationed in Mobile, Alabama and was part of the coastal survey undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers along the Gulf Coast. Having taken to the ways of the South he resigned from the army on 16 October 1852, at the time a captain, to take the position of Chief Engineer of Alabama. In this position he lived and worked in Mobile until secession. He was a lieutenant colonel in an Alabama regiment.

When the war began Leadbetter was commissioned a colonel in the Confederate army and appointed acting chief of the Bureau of Engineers. In that position he advised on the construction of the defenses of Mobile Bay and other coastal fortifications. During the peninsula campaign he traveled to Yorktown to advise on the building of fortifications there. On 10 November 1861 he was sent to East Tennessee to oversee railroad, bridge, and communications construction and repair. He briefly commanded troops in the field guarding against sabotage then on 27 February 1862 was sent to Cumberland Gap. He was promoted to brigadier general on 6 March 1862 to rank from 27 February and was attached to Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee where he served as the army's chief engineer. Leadbetter supervised the construction of the lines on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain overlooking the besieged Union troops that had fled to Chattanooga after the battle of Chickamauga. He was then sent to aide James Longstreet who had moved to besiege Knoxville, Tennessee on 4 November 1863. Leadbetter's proposed positions at Knoxville were criticized most notably by E Porter Alexander and never implemented. Leadbetter would remain with the Army of Tennessee until it was expelled from the state. He then returned to Mobile to supervise the defenses there. He remained in Mobile until the end of the war.

After the war Leadbetter fled to Mexico and then made his way to Canada. He died 26 September 1866 in Clifton, Canada, not too far from Niagra Falls.

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