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Gen Hamilton Prioleau Bee

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Gen Hamilton Prioleau Bee

Politician, Confederate Civil War Brigadier General. Born in Charleston, South Carolina to a prominent family of English ancestry, he moved with his family to Pendleton, South Carolina in 1833. In 1836, when he was 14 years old, his family moved to Texas where his father was a leader in the Texas Revolution against Mexico. At age 17, he was appointed as secretary for the commission that determined the border between the US and the Republic of Texas. In 1843, Texas President Sam Houston sent him along with Joseph C. Eldridge and Thomas S. Torrey to open negotiations with the Comanche Native American tribe and they achieved the Treaty of Tehuacana Creek. In 1846 he served as Secretary of the Texas Senate in the First Texas Legislature. After the outbreak of the Mexican-American War in 1846, he served under Benjamin McCulloch's Company A of Col. Jack Hays's 1st Regiment of Texas Mounted Volunteers for a time before transferring to Mirabeau B. Lamar's Texas cavalry company as a 2nd lieutenant. The following year he signed up for a second term, serving as a first lieutenant in Lamar's Company, which was by then a component of Colonel Peter Hansborough Bell's regiment of Texas volunteers. After the war, he moved to Laredo, Texas and in 1848 he ran and won a seat in the Texas House of Representatives for the 3rd Texas Legislature. He was repeatedly re-elected and served from 1849 through the end of the 7th Legislature, for a total of 10 years in the House of Representatives. In the 6th Legislature, he was elected Speaker of the House. After the outbreak of the American Civil War in April 1861, he was elected brigadier general of the Texas militia and appointed as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army in March 1862 and commanded the brigade that consisted of the 1st, 23rd, 26th, 35th, and 36th cavalry regiments. He was headquartered in Brownsville, Texas where he facilitated the trade of cotton for munitions through Mexico. In November 1863 he abandoned Brownsville in the face of a Union expeditionary force under Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. In early 1864 he transferred to a field command under Lieutenant General Richard Taylor in the Red River Campaign. On April 9, 1864 at the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, he had two different horses shot out from under him during a cavalry charge, but was only slightly wounded. Later, despite intense criticism of his handling of his troops, he was given command of Brigadier General Thomas Green's division in Major General John A. Wharton's cavalry corps in February 1865. After that time he commanded an infantry brigade in General Samuel B. Maxey's division until the end of the Civil War. In 1869 he and his family left Texas and moved to Saltillo, Mexico, in self-imposed exile, before returning to San Antonio, Texas in 1874 and established a law practice. He died in San Antonio at the age of 75. His papers reside at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. He was the older brother of Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., who also served as a Confederate Army brigadier general in the American Civil War, and who was killed at the First Battle of Bull Run (also known as the First Battle of Manassas) at Manassas, Virginia in July 1861.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 19 Mar 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8958
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gen Hamilton Prioleau Bee (22 Jul 1822–3 Oct 1897), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8958, citing Confederate Cemetery, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .