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Col John Washington Shields Alexander

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Col John Washington Shields Alexander

  • Birth 10 Dec 1822 Giles County, Tennessee, USA
  • Death 20 Sep 1863 Chickamauga, Walker County, Georgia, USA
  • Burial Paris, Edgar County, Illinois, USA
  • Memorial ID 28085339

Colonel John Washington Shields Alexander was the son of Gen. Milton King Alexander of the Illinois militia. He was a graduate of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. In 1846 he was made a Lt. of Co. H 4th regt. Ill. Volunteers and participated in the siege and battles for Vera Cruz and Mexico City. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was made Capt. of Co. F. 21st Illinois. Ulysses S. Grant was made Colonel and Alexander was promoted to Lt. Col. When Grant was made Brig. General he was promoted to Colonel and given command of the 21st Ill.
At the Battle of Stones River Gen. Wm. P. Carlin finished his after action report with the following, "I deem it my duty to call attention of the general commanding the fourteenth Army Corps to Colonel John W.S. Alexander, 21st Ill. Volunteers, and Colonel Heg, 15th Wisc. Volunteers. While every field officer under my command did his duty, Colonel Alexander and Heg, in my opinion, Proved themselves the bravest of the brave. Had such men as these been in command of our brigades, we should have been spared the shame of witnessing the rout of our troops and disgraceful panic, encouraged, at least, by the example and advice of officers high in command." Col. Alexander was seriously wounded and spent several months recovering at home.
He returned to his regiment though compelled to use a crutch. At the Battle of Chickamauga on Sept. 20, 1863 the 21st Ill. was caught up in Gen. Longstreets attack on the Union right. General Alexander was killed while attempting to restore order to his routed regiment. Col. Heg had been killed the previous day.
President Grant said in his memoir," When I was assigned to duty as a Brigadier general I turned the regiment over to the gallant, Christian officer, Col. Alexander, who afterwards yielded up his life while nobly leading in the battle of Chickamauga."
Col. Alexanders's first wife was the daughter of General Tilghman Ashurst Howard of Indiana.


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  • Created by: JFJN
  • Added: 6 Jul 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 28085339
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Col John Washington Shields Alexander (10 Dec 1822–20 Sep 1863), Find A Grave Memorial no. 28085339, citing Edgar Cemetery, Paris, Edgar County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by JFJN (contributor 46976255) .