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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