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O. K. McLemore

O. K. McLemore

Confederate (CSA)

Lieutenant Colonel

Owen Kenan McLemore

(? - 1862)

Home State: Alabama

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1856;Class Rank: 39/49

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 4th Alabama Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

He was originally Major, 14th Alabama Infantry, from Chambers County, but was promoted to lead the 4th.

Owen Kenan McLemore A native of LaFayette, Alabama, he was an alumi of the U. S. Army Military Academy at West Point, New York. After graduation in the class of 1856, completing his studies ranked 39th of 49 cadets, he received a commission as second lieutenant in the infantry. Serving first with the 6th and then with the 8th, the young lieutenant traveled throughout the midwest and pacific regions.

Resigning his commission April 8, 1861 while stationed at San Francisco, California he arrived on the east coast via New York City and made his made to Alabama, though at some peril to his safety. He still wore his officer's uniform. Once in his native state he immediately offered his services to the governor. His first assignment was recruiting and enlisting volunteers for the 14th Alabama. He was later appointed major in that regiment.

After the Battle of First Manassas the 4th Alabama was without field officers and in need of instruction. The Provisional Congress assigned McLemore to the regiment and he more than any other field officer in the regiment shaped and guided the development of the 4th Alabama as a fighting unit. Though a career officer, he understood the nature of the volunteer and the Alabamians responded in kind. The results of his training bore fruit at Gaines Mill when the brigade and the Texans broke the Federal center. McLemore was at the front of the 4th Alabama calling the cadence. His commands rang out in a clear firm voice"Guide center, keep in step, one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four." The 4th Alabama responded as if on dress parade.

On the Campaign

McLemore suffered a fatal wound in an engagement at Boonsboro [sic] Gap, Maryland. Before the fall campaign began a friend had remarked: "Don't let the Yankees get you." Holding his sword high the Alabamians replied: "Never will they get over this." He was carried from the field and transported to Shepardstown, Virginia. Unfortunately his sword was left on the field, a trophy for some Federal soldier. He died at Winchester, Virginia September 30th, 1862, the only one of five Confederates from his class to fall in service.

More on the Web

See a Bio Sketch at the Law's Brigade site [gone 2/2006].


9/30/1862 Winchester, VA