A Civil War Biography

George Gibbs Dibrell

Dibrell was born 12 April 1822 in Sparta, White County, Tennessee. He graduated from East Tennessee University in 1843. He then studied the law and was admitted to the bar. He set up a law practice as well as engaging in agricultural and mercantile pursuits. He served as justice of the peace and county court clerk of White County for many years. He was also a member of the state house of representatives in 1861.

When the war started Dibrell joined the 25th Tennessee Infantry as a private rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel by the 19 January 1862 battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky. He left the 25th and organized an independent band of partisan rangers in White County. Twelve companies of mostly farm workers were mustered in Sparta on 4 September 1862 with now Colonel Dibrell as commander. On 8 October 1862 the regiment marched to Murfreesboro, Tennessee and, newly designated the 8th Tennessee Cavalry and reorganized into 10 companies, was attached to Nathan Bedford Forrest's brigade. The 8th TN was involved in several small skirmishes in central Tennessee then accompanied Forrest on his first raid into West Tennessee during which Dibrell commanded the brigade.

At Chickamauga Dibrell commanded a brigade in Frank C. Armstrong's Division in Forrest's Cavalry Corps. After Chickamauga Forrest left the Army of Tennessee and Armstrong's Division along with Dibrell's Brigade were attached to Wheeler's Cavalry Corps. Dibrell was promoted to brigadier general on 26 July 1864. He commanded his brigade through the remainder of the war, during the Atlanta campaign, at Savannah, and during Joseph E Johnston's final campaign in the Carolinas.

Dibrell did not surrender with Johnston but moved to join Jefferson Davis in his flight south. Following the war Dibrell returned to his business pursuits. He spent time as a railroad president then entered politics as a delegate to the 1870 Tennessee constitutional convention. In November 1874 he was elected to the US House of Representatives from Tennessee's 3rd district. He was elected to five terms serving from 4 March 1875 until 3 March 1885. Dibrell decided not to seek reelection in 1884 and returned to agricultural and mercantile pursuits. He died on 9 May 1888 in Sparta.

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