A Civil War Biography
Paul Jones Semmes
Semmes was born 4 June 1815 at Mountford's Plantation in Wilkes
County, Georgia. He attended the University of Virginia then
returned to Georgia after graduation to become a banker and a
planter near Columbus. In 1846 he became active in the state
militia, serving as captain of the Columbus Guards until 1861.
Once the war began Semmes helped form the 2nd Georgia Infantry
regiment and was elected colonel. In the spring of 1862, after the
2nd arrived in Virginia, Semmes was promoted to brigadier general,
to rank from 11 March 1862. He commanded a brigade in John Bankhead
Magruder's division during the defense of Yorktown and Williamsburg
and at the battle of Seven Pines. Semmes' brigade was then attached
to Lafayette McLaw's division of James Longstreet's corps and fought
during the Seven Days battles at Savage Station and Malvern Hill.
Semmes saw action in command of his brigade at Crampton's Gap and
Sharpsburg, defending Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg and at Salem
Church during the Chancellorsville campaign. During the second day
at Gettysburg, 2 July 1863, Semmes was mortally wounded during
Longstreet's attack against the Round Tops on the Union left. Semmes
was taken by ambulance across the Potomac River to Martinsburg, by
then West Virginia, where he died on 10 July 1863.
Paul Jones Semmes was a cousin of Raphael Semmes the Confederate
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