(1839 - 1862)
Home State: Alabama
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 12th Alabama Infantry
Of Morgan County, Alabama, he was commissioned Captain, Company H, 12th Alabama Infantry, on the initial organization of the regiment, date not given. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel at Yorktown, VA and to Colonel and command of the 12th Alabama on the death of Colonel Robert T. Jones in action at Seven Pines, VA on 31 May 1862.
On the Campaign
Col Gayle was killed while in command of his Regiment at Turner's Gap during the defense of that pass on September 14:
... the fight at close quarters was resumed, and again accompanied by the enemy throwing their, by this time apparently interminable right around toward my rear. In this position the Sixth Alabama and the Twelfth suffered pretty severely. The latter, together with the remainder of the Third Alabama, which had been well handled by Colonel [C. A.] Battle, was forced to retire, and in so doing lost heavily. Its colonel (Gayle) [B. B.] was seen to fall, and its lieutenant-colonel [Samuel B.] (Pickens) was shot through the lungs; the former was left on the field, supposed to be dead; Pickens was brought off ...Lieutenant Park of Company F saw the Colonel killed and later remembered it this way:
The enemy pushed forward ... and soon came upon Colonel Gayle and the rear support. He was ordered to surrender, but, drawing his pistol and firing in their faces, he exclaimed: 'We are flanked, boys, but let's die in our tracks,' and continued to fire until he was literally riddled by bullets, and surrendered up his pure, brave young spirit to the God who gave it.
References & notes
04/19/1839; Suffolk, VA
09/14/1862 Turner's Gap, MD; burial in Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, AL
1 State of Alabama, Dept. of Archives & History, Alabama Civil War Service Database, Published 2004, first accessed 01 January 2010, <http://www.archives.state.al.us/civilwar/index.cfm>, Source page: various [AotW citation 20035]
2 Southern Historical Society, and Rev. John William Jones, Robert Alonzo Brock, James Power Smith, editors, Southern Historical Society Papers, 52 Vols., Richmond: Southern Historical Society, 1876-1959, Vol. 33, pg. 279 [AotW citation 25712]