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J. kershaw

J. kershaw

Confederate (CSA)

Brigadier General

Joseph Brevard Kershaw

(1822 - 1894)

Home State: South Carolina

Command Billet: Brigade Commander

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Kershaw's Brigade


see his Battle Report

Before Sharpsburg

He did not attend college, but studied law and passed the bar exam in 1843. He joined the Palmetto Regiment for service in the Mexican War and was elected 1st Lieutenant in the DeKalb Rifle Guards. He was stricken with fever and returned from Mexico as a physical wreck.

In 1852, he was elected to the state legislature and reelected in 1854. After John Brown's Raid in October of 1859, Kershaw became active in the militia and was elected colonel of the local regiment. He participated in the Charleston Convention that for South Carolina to secede from the Union.

He organized the 2nd South Carolina Regiment and was named its colonel on April 9, 1861. In January 1862, Gen Bonham resigned and Kershaw was promoted to Brigadier General in command of the brigade.

On the Campaign

Commanded Kershaw's Brigade in McLaws' Division in Longstreet's Command.

During the siege of Harper's Ferry, he was assigned the key role of capturing Maryland Heights which his brigade successfully accomplished. They were heavily engaged early on September 17 in and near the West Woods.

The rest of the War

He led his Brigade at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. At Chickamauga he comanded his own brigade and that of General Benjamin Humphreys.,

Late in 1863 Gen McLaws was transferred out of Longstreet's Corps, elevating Kershaw to command of the division. He led it in the Wilderness Campaign, and with Gen Early in the Shenandoah Valley. Kershaw's Division returned to Richmond in early December. A month later his old brigade was sent to their home state to stop General Sherman's invasion. Kershaw remained in the Richmond/Petersburg area until Lee's army withdrew on April 2, 1865. Kershaw was one of six Confederate generals captured at Sayler's Creek on April 6th, three days before Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Kershaw was captured by Custer's cavalry. Instead of obtaining a parole and going home, Kershaw went to prison camp at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, where he stayed until mid-August 1865.

After the War

Kershaw returned to Camden to resume his legal career and was elected to the state senate in 1865 and chosen as the President of the Senate. In 1874 he ran unsuccessfully for Congress, and was elected judge of the fifth circuit court of the state in 1877, resigning in 1893.

References & notes

Most material above quoted from a biography of Kershaw and his commands on e-history.

See also his basics at the Political Graveyard.


1/5/1822; Camden, SC


4/13/1894; Camden, SC; burial in Quaker Cemetery, Camden, SC