Lunsford L. Lomax
Lunsford Lindsay Lomax November 4, 1835 – May 28, 1913 was an officer in the United States Army who resigned his commission to join the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the American Civil War He had maintained a close friendship with his West Point classmate Fitzhugh Lee, and served under him as a brigadier in the Overland Campaign He was then given command of the Valley District, where he supervised intelligence-gathering operations by Mosby's Rangers
- 1 Early and family life
- 2 US Army career
- 3 American Civil War
- 4 Postwar years
- 5 Death and legacy
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Early and family life
Born in Newport, Rhode Island on November 4, 1835 to the former Elizabeth Virginia Lindsay 1800-after 1860 and her husband, Major Mann Page Lomax 1787-1842, Lunsford Lomax was descended from the First Families of Virginia His father was a career US Army officer, specializing in artillery, who had served in New Orleans during the War of 1812, and married in 1820 during his leave in Norfolk, Virginia He was named for his great grandfather, Lunsford Lomax 1705-1772 of "Portabago" plantation in Caroline County, who also served part-time in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1742 until 1756 representing that county before the American Revolutionary War His grandfather Thomas Lomax 1750-1835 served on the Caroline County Committee of Safety during the Revolutionary War and later in the Virginia House of Delegates His father died of tuberculosis in Cambridge, Massachusetts when this Lunsford Lomax was seven He had five sisters, Ann b 1832, Virginia b 1832, Victoria b 1833, Julia b 1835 and Mary b 1835 His mother raised him and his sisters in Norfolk, but by 1860 the Lomax womenfolk his sisters remaining unmarried had moved to Washington, DC After a private education, Lunsford Lomax received an "at-large" appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York He graduated in 1856 with fellow Virginia classmate and friend Fitzhugh Lee
Lunsford Lomax married Elizabeth Winter Payne 1850-1932, like him descended from the First Families of Virginia, on February 20, 1873 in Fauquier County, Virginia, and they would have daughters Elizabeth Lindsay Lomax Wood 1874–1951 and Anne Tayloe Lomax 1887–1961
US Army career
Assigned to the prestigious 2nd Cavalry regiment, Lomax fought on the frontier and served in Bleeding Kansas during the years immediately preceding the conflict
American Civil War
Lomax resigned from the army in April 1861, and shortly thereafter accepted a captain's commission in Virginia state militia Initially assigned to Joseph E Johnston's staff as assistant adjutant general, Lomax later served as inspector general for Benjamin McCulloch Promoted to lieutenant colonel, he was transferred back to the Eastern Theater
Appointed colonel of the 11th Virginia Cavalry in time for the Gettysburg campaign, Lomax was promoted to brigadier general after the battle Lomax fought his brigade under the division command of his old classmate Fitzhugh Lee from Culpeper Courthouse through the Wilderness and around Petersburg He was promoted to major general in August 1864, and was assigned to assist General Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley After escaping capture at the Battle of Woodstock, Lomax was given command of the Valley District When Richmond was evacuated, Lomax tried to join forces with John Echols's men at Lynchburg, Virginia, but unable to do so, Lomax finally surrendered with Joe Johnston in North Carolina
Lesser known is Lomax's role in the formation of the partisan units that fought in Northern Virginia during the latter part of the War In a statement made to Caroline Harper Long shortly before his death, published in the Baltimore Sun in 1920 by Beth Rhoades, entitled "Gray Ghost of the Confederacy," John Mosby writes:Confederate Major General Lunsford L Lomax
General Lomax was with McCulloch in West Tennessee and after McCulloch was killed he was with Van Dorn In the Fall of 1862 he was ordered to Richmond on a special mission He was then detailed back to Van Dorn just before Christmas He was a Lt Colonel and placed in command of the 11th Virginia Cavalry When Lomax was in Richmond he learned of his future transfer to Virginia He had a scout sent up from Tennessee to assess the military information situation and to set up partisan scouts in the Shenandoah Valley Up to that time everything in this area had been disorganized and difussed and relatively ineffective Lomax wanted a scouting system identical with the very excellent system which existed in West Tennessee He picked his men from amongst the scouts in West Tennessee and selected a man by the name of Boyd He had been a railroad detective and he was among the best they had He arrived in Richmond several days before Lomax left and Boyd proceeded on to Staunton where he was met by one of Winder's detectives by the name of Turner Boyd recruited and trained some 35 to 40 men in Rockingham, Shenandoah and Augusta counties and formed them into the Linville Partisan Rangers He taught them the fine points of scouting, telegraph line tapping, use of blasting powder, and all the other things a good scout needs to know Boyd was one of Van Dorn's best scouts and did a fine job of setting up the partisans in the Valley
Lomax had also arranged for me to begin independent operations in Loudoun County to the North I got started about the first of the year At that time I only had a few men, less than a dozen but we soon expanded and trained the men we had We never were a large group nor were we designed to be a large fighting force We had to form up and dissolve into the countryside in a few minutes Secrecy was our greatest ally We didn't drill like regulars and we had no permanent camps to provide that camp drudgery so disliked by regulars We used dinner bells and whistles to signal with and to cause assembly
In June of that year my outfit was designated the 43rd Battalion Partisan Rangers But on his way back to Tennessee Boyd was captured and in fact did not get back to Tennessee before Lomax was transferred to Virginia In February, after the capture of Boyd became known, the Linville Rangers were put under the command of Jake Cook but they were never officially recognized by the Confederate government and they were never paid But they were active throughout the valley and they provided good information to Lomax
Part of the opacity that surrounds Lomax's military career rests with him being the commanding officer of Mosby and the other partisan units in the Valley that brought information to General Lee and others In fact, Mosby told Caroline Harper, an acquaintance who had been raised in the same aristocratic circles of Old Virginia, the illegitimate daughter of a prominent politician, that he had not felt he could even give the interview until Lomax's death, in order to protect him, for they were the closest of friends, both during and after the war
After Appomattox, Lomax farmed in Caroline and Fauquier counties for over 20 years, then was appointed president of the Virginia Agriculture and Mechanical College in 1886 He served for five years He continued contact with Jubal Early, and months after the death of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis, vehemently objected to his daughter Winnie's proposed marriage to Alfred Wilkinson, a New Yorker whose father had been an abolitionist
Lomax later became a clerk in the War Department assembling and editing the Official Records of the war and was for a time commissioner of Gettysburg National Park
Death and legacy
Lomax died May 28, 1913 and was buried in Warrenton, Virginia
- List of American Civil War generals Confederate
- ^ 1850 US Federal census for Norfolk, 1860 US Federal census for Washington, DC Ward 1, both available on ancestrycom
- ^ will available online at ancestrycom, as well as entry at findagravecom no 11016
- ^ "Presidents of Virginia Tech" Retrieved 30 May 2016
- ^ "The Lomax Years" Retrieved 30 May 2016
- ^ Joan E Cashin, First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis's Civil War Harvard University Press 2006 pp 271-272
- Biography at the Alexandria, Virginia library online collection
- Boatner, Mark Mayo, III The Civil War Dictionary New York: McKay, 1988 ISBN 978-0-8129-1726-0 First published New York, McKay, 1959
- Eicher, John H, and David J Eicher, Civil War High Commands Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001 ISBN 978-0-8047-3641-1
- Sifakis, Stewart Who Was Who in the Civil War New York: Facts On File, 1988 ISBN 978-0-8160-1055-4
- Warner, Ezra J Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959 ISBN 978-0-8071-0823-9
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