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Confederate (CSA)


Richard Henry Brewer

(1834 - 1864)

Home State: Maryland

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1858;Class Rank: 12/27

Command Billet: Brigade Staff Officer

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: Pender's Brigade

Before Sharpsburg

After graduating from West Point in July 1858 he served as 2nd Lieutenant with the First US Dragoons. He was assigned to the Carlisle (PA) School for Cavalry for a year, then on frontier duty at Ft. Crook, CA from 1859 to 1860 and Ft. Churchill, NV into 1861. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant 26 April 1861 but resigned his US commission on 13 May.

He was appointed Lieutenant, Confederate States Cavalry and assigned to the staff of Major General Polk in October of that year. He commanded "Brewer's Battalion"—originally 4 companies of Mississippi and Alabama cavalry—from December 1861 [ranks of Major, Lieutenant Colonel, and/or Colonel, not verified]. This unit served in Kentucky and Mississippi, and was in General Polk's Corps on the Shiloh campaign. He resigned that post in July 1862 for health reasons. On 10 August he was accepted as Lieutenant and volunteer aide-de-camp to BGen Pender.

On the Campaign

He was on Brigadier General Pender's staff on the Maryland Campaign, and given command of the Brigade while the General was absent during the action at Harpers Ferry. Pender spoke highly of him in his after-action report, and recommended promotion.

The rest of the War

In December 1862 Brewer was appointed Major and assistant adjutant-general again to General Polk. In April 1864 he was assigned to General Ransom's staff, but was mortally wounded at Piedmont Virginia on 5 June 1864. He died of wounds there on 25 June 1864.

References & notes

Staff service and biographical information from Heitman1 and Krick2; cavalry command from the OR.3 Federal service details from Cullum.4 Brigadier General Pender refers to Brewer at least once as "Colonel" on the Campaign—perhaps a reference to his prior service in command of his own Battalion. He is seen as Colonel in a number of reference works on the Maryland Campaign, though he was 1st Lieutenant and VADC there. It is not clear why Pender selected him to command at Harpers Ferry rather than the senior Colonel in the Brigade, as would have been customary.


09/22/1834; Anne Arundel County, MD


06/25/1864; Piedmont, VA


1   Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, 2 volumes, Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1903, pg. 243  [AotW citation 410]

2   Krick, Robert E.L., Staff Officers in Gray; A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003, pg. 82  [AotW citation 411]

3   US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, various cites  [AotW citation 412]

4   Cullum, George Washington, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the US Military Academy, 2nd Edition, 3 vols., New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1868-79, Vol. 2, pg. 704 (Cullum #1809)  [AotW citation 20098]