(1823 - 1886)
Home State: South Carolina
Education: College of South Carolina, Class of 1844
Branch of Service: Infantry
Youngest of the 8 children of Dr. James Davis, a prominent physician in Columbia, he was Librarian of the College of South Carolina 1844-48. He was admitted to the bar in Columbia, but did not practice the law, and began farming at Ridgeway in the Fairfield District instead. He had militia service in Columbia and was Captain of the Cedar Creek Rifles in Fairfield. He was elected to the State General Assembly in 1858 and served one term in the House (1858-59).
He was elected to the State convention and was one of the signers of the Ordinance of Secession in December 1860. In August 1861, then age 38, he enrolled as Captain of Company C of the 12th South Carolina Infantry at its organization in camp at Lightwood Knot Springs near Columbia.
On the Campaign
He was wounded in action at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862.
The rest of the War
He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel on 4 February 1863. He was deemed unfit for duty by a Surgeon’s Board of Examination in late July 1863 because of chronic diarrhea and dysentery. The regimental surgeon also noted that he suffered from ‘organic disease of the heart’. He served back in South Carolina as an enrolling officer and resigned his commission on 17 November 1863.
After the War
He was returned to the legislature in 1864 and commanded Fairfield militia near the end of the war in 1865. He went back to farming, was a teacher, and was appointed Postmaster at Ridgeway. He died after a heart attack on the train just as he arrived home from a visit to Asheville, NC in 1886, 3 weeks after his 63rd birthday.
References & notes
His service from the Rolls,1 and Lt. J.R. Boyle's Reminiscences of the Civil War (1890). Thanks to Barry Truluck for further military information from his Compiled Service Records via fold3. Personal details from family genealogists, his obituary in the Fairfield News and Herald of 1 September 1886, and Edwin Luther Green's A History of the University of South Carolina (1916). His gravesite is on Findagrave.
He married Isabella Harper "Belle" Means (1830-1871) in May 1848 on the Means' Buckhead Plantation in Fairfield, and they had 5 children. Her uncle John Hugh Means (b. 1812) was Governor of South Carolina (1850-52) and Colonel of the 17th SC Infantry; he was mortally wounded at Second Manassas in August 1862.
More on the Web
His papers are in the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina [finding aid].
08/06/1823; Columbia, SC
08/27/1886; Ridgeway, SC; burial in Saint Stephens Episcopal Church Cemetery, Ridgeway, SC