Civil War Confederate Lieutenant General. He was a delegate to the Secession Convention of 1861 and fought to keep Virginia in the Union, but when outvoted he went to the support of his native state. He entered the Confederate Army as a Colonel in the 24th Virginia and was promoted Brigadier General in command of the 6th Brigade, 1st Corps in July 1861. As a brigade commander, he served with distinction at the Battle of Bull Run, Peninsular Campaign, Battle of Malvern Hill and Cedar Mountain. Promoted Major General in 1863, he led a Division of the 2nd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. In 1864, after the Battle of the Wilderness, he was promoted Lieutenant General in command of operations at Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. In the last year of the war, commanding the 3rd Corps, Army of Northern Virginia, he fought at Waynesboro and was defeated against Union General Phillip H. Sheridan at the Shenandoah Valley. After the war, Early lived in Canada a few years, he returned to Virginia in 1869, opened a law practice and remained bitter over the South's defeat until his death.
Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith