A Civil War Biography

William Flank Perry

Perry was born 12 March 1823 in Jackson County Georgia. He moved with his family to Alabama in 1833. Perry showed an interest in education and from 1848 until 1853 he served as the principal of a high school in Talladega, Alabama. He was a self taught lawyer but although admitted to the bar he never established a practice, choosing to devote his energies to public education. In 1854 the Alabama legislature selected him the state's first superintendent of education. He resigned as superintendent in 1858 to become president of East Alabama College, a women's college in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Perry enlisted as a private in the 44th Alabama infantry when it was formed in early 1862. He was elected major in May then promoted to lieutenant colonel following 2nd Manassas. He became colonel and took over command following Sharpsburg. He commanded the regiment at Gettysburg in the assault on the second day on Little Round Top. He commanded the regiment at Chickamauga, the regiment having been sent west with the rest of James Longstreet's Corps.

Once returned to the east the 44th saw action at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and at North Anna with Perry in command. When Evander Law, the brigade commander, was wounded at North Anna Perry assumed brigade command and kept it until the surrender at Appomattox being finally promoted to brigadier general on 21 February 1865.

Following the war Perry took up farming in Alabama. After two years he returned to his career in education. He became a professor of English and philosophy at Ogden College in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He held that position until his death on 18 December 1901.

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