Maj Lamar Fontaine

Maj Lamar Fontaine

Washington County, Texas, USA
Death 1 Oct 1921 (aged 79)
Lyon, Coahoma County, Mississippi, USA
Burial Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi, USA
Memorial ID 13660638 · View Source
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Soldier, Poet, Rifle shot expert, Surveyor, Civil engineer, Scientist and Author.

He was born in Washington Co, Texas, the son of Edward Fontaine (1814-1884) and Mary Ann "Nancy" Swisher. He was educated in Austin and the Military Academy at Bastrop, Louisiana. He was a Texas Ranger and joined the Mississippi Rifles. He served as a private in the 18th Mississippi Infantry until severely wounded in the Battle of Manassas. Unwilling to be discharged, he was transferred to the 2nd Regiment Virginia Cavalry. He served as a scout and courier, participating in twenty-seven battles. He was wounded numerous times and lost a leg. He is best known for sneaking through Union lines to bring supplies to the Rebel army during the siege of Vicksburg. He claimed to have written "All Quiet Along the Potomac". Later set to music, it was one of the most popular songs of the Civil War. In later years he went on speaking tours, recounting his adventures and exploits during the war. In 1908 he published "My life and my lectures" later translated to French, and in 1909, "A short discourse on the causes of the Lincoln invasion and bloody conquest of the South"(Bio: Michelle Woodham)

As a writer he had quite an imagination. He claims to have been born in 1829 in his writings and gives his parents names, but the Swisher family didn't arrive in TX until 1833. Bio of his grandfather Harvey Henry Swisher and his Uncle James Gibson Swisher on file in Texas History, says they came to Robertson Colony in the winter of 1833, then to Tenoxtitlan and Fall of 1834 to Gay Hill, Washington Co TX. His parents marriage is recorded in newspapers as 12 Nov 1840 Washington Co TX. Lamar's Newspaper obit has him b 1829 as well but it doesn't fit the son of Edward Fontaine & Mary Ann/Nancy Swisher.

Letter to the Army from his father, Rev. Edward Fontaine. Transcribed by Angela Jones Harlan, 18 Sep 2014 from the Civil War file of Lamar Fontaine serving 2nd VA Cav:

Jackson, Miss Sep 30th 1862
Hon. G W Randolph
Secy of War CSA

I have had my oldest son Lamar Fontaine educated from childhood in the profession of arms. He had the promise of an appointment of cadet at West point at the time of disruption of the US Government. I intended him for the Corps of Engineers. I directed his early studies with reference to that object., but his life in Texas and subsequent experience qualify him better for the Calvary services. I wish him to be appointed to the 1st Lieut of Calvary; if that cannot be done 2nd. You will find that he is well qualified for any Calvary command.

He was born in Washington Co, Texas Oct 11, 1841 & is now nearly 21 years old. He draws & paints well & is a good mathematician. He has some knowledge of Latin, Greek & French & understands Spanish which he speaks pretty well. As a horseman, swordsman & marksman with a rifle & pistol he has but few superiors. He has read carefully an extensive course in ancient & modern history & is well informed in general literature. He was a cadet in the Bastrop Military Academy where this revolution commenced. He joined the first Volunteer company raised in this county after the state seceded and served in Col Smith's Regiment (10th Miss) at Pensacola. While there he was detached from the Infantry to serve one of the batteries of Artillery. In June 1861 he was transferred to my company (I 18th Regt Miss Vols) "The Burt Rifles" ...

(this letter goes on for pages but the important part is date of his birth given by his father)
(Bio: Angela Jones Harlan)

Family Members



4 LA Cav. C.S.A.

"He was the bearer of caps and dispatches between Pemberton and Johnston during the siege of Vicksburg, May, June and July 1863. Author of the poem: "All quiet along the Potomac", and the deadliest sharpshooter in the army of Northern Virginia.
Duty done, Honor won. Resurgam."

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  • Created by: Michelle Woodham
  • Added: 19 Mar 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 13660638
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Maj Lamar Fontaine (11 Oct 1841–1 Oct 1921), Find a Grave Memorial no. 13660638, citing Grange Cemetery, Clarksdale, Coahoma County, Mississippi, USA ; Maintained by Michelle Woodham (contributor 46636907) .