General James Henry Lane

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General James Henry Lane

General James Lane
General James Henry lane.jpg
(General James Henry lane)

(July 28, 1833 - September 21, 1907)
Tintype Photograph is Courtesy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

James H. Lane, VMI Class of 1854

Biographical Information

  • Early Life
    James Henry Lane, b. July 28, 1833, Mathews Court House, Virginia. Parents: Henry Gardner Lane and Mary Ann Henry Barkwell.
  • VMI record
    Enrolled at VMI on July 22, 1851; graduated on July 4, 1854, standing 2nd in a class of 14.
  • Marriage
    Charlotte Randolph Meade of Richmond, VA; they had four daughters (Lidie, Mary, Kate, Lottie).
  • Pre-Civil War
    Attended University of Virginia, 1856-1857; civil engineer; teacher (VMI, West Seminary at Tallahassee, FL., North Carolina Military Institute at Charlotte, NC).
  • Civil War
    Major and Lt. Col., 1st North Carolina Infantry Regt; Colonel, 28th North Carolina Infantry; appointed Brigadier General Nov. 1862; commanded his brigade at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, and Siege of Petersburg.
  • Post-war
    Educator; taught at various universities, notably Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Missouri School of Mines, and Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Auburn University), where he was professor of civil engineering. He died at Auburn, AL., on September 21, 1907, and is buried there.
  • Papers
    An extensive collection of Lane's personal papers are located at the Auburn University Archives. VMI has information about his cadetship, photos, and other biographical information, as well as 2 miscellaneous family documents.

James Henry Lane was born at Matthews Court House, Virginia on July 28, 1833, and died on September 21, 1907, in Auburn, Alabama. He received degrees from Virginia Military Institute in 1854 and from the University of Virginia in 1857. He was teaching in North Carolina at the Charlotte Military Institute when the Civil War began. He joined the First North Carolina Volunteers with the rank of major, and in 1862 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. Lane fought in the battles of Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Petersburg, Gettysburg, and Spotsylvania. He was part of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Lane was also at Appomattox Court House when the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered on April 9, 1865. His mentor was the legendary General Thomas Jonathon "Stonewall" Jackson.
From "The Weekly Standard [North Carolina]", Dec. 2, 1863
JAMES H. LANE, COLONEL, aged 28 years, volunteering April 28th, 1861, from Charlotte, N.C. He was commissioned Colonel in this Regiment Sept. 21st, 1861. He was wounded at the Battles of Frazier's Farm and Cold Harbor; was in the battles of Big Bethel, Hanover, Mechanicsville, Cold Harbor, Frazier's Farm, Malvern Hill, Cedar Run, Warrenton Springs, Manassas Junction, Manassas Plains, Ox Hill, Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg and Sheppardstown, He took command of the brigade after the fall of General Branch and for his good discipline, gallantry and soldier-like conduct through all the campaign, he was promoted to the command of the brigade Nov. 1st, 1862, as Brigadier General. (See General James Henry Lane: Confederate Military History and Compiled Military Service Record.)

(Sources listed at bottom of page.)

Recommended Reading: Generals in Gray Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Description: When Generals in Gray was published in 1959, scholars and critics immediately hailed it as one of the few indispensable books on the American Civil War. Historian Stanley Horn, for example, wrote, "It is difficult for a reviewer to restrain his enthusiasm in recommending a monumental book of this high quality and value." Here at last is the paperback edition of Ezra J. Warner’s magnum opus with its concise, detailed biographical sketches and—in an amazing feat of research—photographs of all 425 Confederate generals. Continued below...

The only exhaustive guide to the South’s command, Generals in Gray belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in the Civil War. RATED 5 STARS!

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Recommended Reading: General Lee's Army: From Victory to Collapse (624 pages). Review (Publishers Weekly): You cannot say that University of North Carolina professor Glatthaar (Partners in Command) did not do his homework in this massive examination of the Civil War–era lives of the men in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Glatthaar spent nearly 20 years examining and ordering primary source material to ferret out why Lee's men fought, how they lived during the war, how they came close to winning, and why they lost. Continued below...
Glatthaar marshals convincing evidence to challenge the often-expressed notion that the war in the South was a rich man's war and a poor man's fight and that support for slavery was concentrated among the Southern upper class. Lee's army included the rich, poor and middle-class, according to the author, who contends that there was broad support for the war in all economic strata of Confederate society. He also challenges the myth that because Union forces outnumbered and materially outmatched the Confederates, the rebel cause was lost, and articulates Lee and his army's acumen and achievements in the face of this overwhelming opposition. This well-written work provides much food for thought for all Civil War buffs.


Recommended Reading: Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders (Hardcover). Description: More than forty years after its original publication, Ezra J. Warner’s Generals in Blue is now available in paperback for the first time. Warner’s classic reference work includes intriguing biographical sketches and a rare collection of photos of all 583 men who attained the rank of general in the Union Army. Here are the West Point graduates and the political appointees; the gifted, the mediocre, and the inexcusably bad; those of impeccable virtue and those who abused their position; the northern-born, the foreign-born, and the southerners who remained loyal to the Union. Continued below...

Warner’s valuable introduction discusses the criteria for appointment and compares the civilian careers of both Union and Confederate generals, revealing striking differences in the two groups. Generals in Blue is that rare book—an essential volume for scholars, a prized item for buffs, and a biographical dictionary that the casual reader will find absorbing.

Recommended Reading: Civil War High Commands (1040 pages) (Hardcover). Description: Based on nearly five decades of research, this magisterial work is a biographical register and analysis of the people who most directly influenced the course of the Civil War, its high commanders. Numbering 3,396, they include the presidents and their cabinet members, state governors, general officers of the Union and Confederate armies (regular, provisional, volunteers, and militia), and admirals and commodores of the two navies. Civil War High Commands will become a cornerstone reference work on these personalities and the meaning of their commands, and on the Civil War itself. Errors of fact and interpretation concerning the high commanders are legion in the Civil War literature, in reference works as well as in narrative accounts. Continued below...

The present work brings together for the first time in one volume the most reliable facts available, drawn from more than 1,000 sources and including the most recent research. The biographical entries include complete names, birthplaces, important relatives, education, vocations, publications, military grades, wartime assignments, wounds, captures, exchanges, paroles, honors, and place of death and interment. In addition to its main component, the biographies, the volume also includes a number of essays, tables, and synopses designed to clarify previously obscure matters such as the definition of grades and ranks; the difference between commissions in regular, provisional, volunteer, and militia services; the chronology of military laws and executive decisions before, during, and after the war; and the geographical breakdown of command structures. The book is illustrated with 84 new diagrams of all the insignias used throughout the war and with 129 portraits of the most important high commanders.
Recommended Reading: Rebels and Yankees: Commanders of the Civil War (Hardcover), by William C. Davis (Author), Russ A. Pritchard (Author). Description: Davis and Pritchard have created a wonderful work that is sure to become a hit with anyone who studies the Civil War. This book uses words and a generous amount of pictures and photographs to tell the story of the leaders, both talented and flawed, that held together the two struggling armies in a time of chaos and devastating loss. Continued below...
Although many of the stories have been told in one form or another.... Commanders compiles this study in a single book that makes it very easy to compare and contrast the styles and techniques employed by officers of both armies. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.


Recommended Reading: Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War, by Edwin C. Bearss (Author), James McPherson (Introduction). Description: Bearss, a former chief historian of the National Parks Service and internationally recognized American Civil War historian, chronicles 14 crucial battles, including Fort Sumter, Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Sherman's march through the Carolinas, and Appomattox--the battles ranging between 1861 and 1865; included is an introductory chapter describing John Brown's raid in October 1859. Bearss describes the terrain, tactics, strategies, personalities, the soldiers and the commanders. Continued below...

He personalizes the generals and politicians, sergeants and privates. The text is augmented by 80 black-and-white photographs and 19 maps. It is like touring the battlefields without leaving home. A must for every one of America's countless Civil War buffs, this major work will stand as an important reference and enduring legacy of a great historian for generations to come. Also available in hardcover: Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War.

Sources: Auburn University Archives; University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill); Virginia Military Institute; The Weekly Standard, North Carolina.

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