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 Roger Atkinson Pryor

Roger Atkinson Pryor

Birth
Petersburg, Petersburg City, Virginia, USA
Death 14 Mar 1919 (aged 90)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey, USA
Memorial ID 4864 · View Source
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Civil War Confederate Brigadier General, US Congressman, CSA Congressman. Born in Petersburg, Virginia, he earned degrees from Hampton-Sydney College and the University of Virginia before reading law and embarking on a law career. Admitted to the Virginia Bar in 1848, he came down with severe health problems, which forced him to abandon his law practice. Turning to journalism, he worked editing first the Washington "Union", then the Richmond "Enquirer" before being appointed by President Franklin Pierce as a special United States Minister to Greece. After serving in that office from 1854 to 1857, he returned to establish himself as a prominent editor in Washington, DC and outspoken Southern Rights supporter (a stance that involved him in several duels). When Virginia Congressman William O. Goode died in office in 1859, Roger Pryor ran for and won the vacant Congressional seat. He served as a Democrat representing Virginia's 4th District in the United States House of Representatives from beginning his term on December 7, 1859. He emerged as a staunch Secessionist when the sectional strife in the United States moved inexorably towards war, and abandoned his Congressional seat in early 1861 (he was officially expelled on March 3, 1861). He was present in Charleston, South Carolina with General Pierre G.T. Beauregard when Confederate forces bombarded Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, beginning the conflict, and was alleged to have been offered to fire the first cannon shot, but declined the honor. He was elected as a Delegate from Virginia first to the Provisional Confederate Congress, then in the Regular Confederate House of Representatives. However, he spent little time in Congress, having been appointed as Colonel and commander of the 3rd Virginia Infantry regiment in April 1861. Promoted to Brigadier General, PACS in May 1862 (backdated to April 16, 1862), he led his command in the Battles of Williamsburg and Fair Oaks, and through the Seven Days Battles of late June, where he led a successful charge of his command at the June 27 Battle of Gaines Mill, and led a futile one three days later at the Battle of Glendale. During the Second Bull Run Campaign in August 1862 his command engaged the Union V Corps under General FitzJohn Porter, and the September 1862 Battle of Antietam they fought near Piper's Orchard. In the latter battle, he briefly assumed command of Major General Richard Anderson's Division when General Anderson was wounded near the Sunken Road. Transferred to a brigade on garrison command along the James River in November 1862, his unit was eventually broken up and distributed to other commands, and he was left without a command assignment. Coming into conflict over this with President Jefferson F. Davis, he resigned his commission in August 1863, and re-enlisted as a Private in the Confederate Cavalry, serving under General Fitzhugh Lee. He spent the next year as a special intelligence scout and courier, and was captured by Union forces on November 28, 1864. Sent to the prison at Fort Lafayette, New York Harbor, he remained there until nearly the end of the war, being paroled and exchanged in March 1865. After the conclusion of the conflict, his newspaper career was no longer viable, and he moved to New York City later in 1865. Establishing a law practice there, he became one of the City's more prominent jurists, and was appointed first as Judge of the New York Court of Common Pleas (1890), then as an Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court (1894). His age causing his retirement by law in 1899, he returned to the New York Court System in 1912, when he was appointed Official Referee by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court. He served in this capacity until his death in New York City in 1919. His wife, Sara Agnes Rice Pryor, was one of the founders of the National Daughters of the Revolution. In 1976 author Robert S. Holzman published the work "Adapt or Perish; The Life of General Roger A. Pryor, C.S.A". General Pryor is one of two Confederate Generals interred in New Jersey (the other being Brigadier General Henry H. Walker).

Bio by: Russ Dodge



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 21 Mar 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4864
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Roger Atkinson Pryor (19 Jul 1828–14 Mar 1919), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4864, citing Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .