Monday, January 31, 2011

Old Reliable Resigns

Confederate General William Joseph Hardee resigned his United State Army commission on January 31st 1861.

William Joseph Hardee the son of Major John and Sarah [Ellis] Hardee, he was born October 12th 1815 at his families home in Camden County, Georgia. He attended the United State Military Academy at West Point, graduating 26 out of a class of 45 in 1838. Hardee was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 2nd United States Dragoons. The Army sent him to France in 1840 to study military tactics. During the Mexican - American War Hardee was serving under General Zachary Taylor when he was captured at Carricitos Ranch, Texas. After being exchanged on May 11th 1846 he served under General Winfield Scott and was wounded at La Rosia, Mexico in 1847. He wrote “Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics” [known as “Hardee’s Tactics”] in 1855. Hardee returned to West Point where he taught tactics and served from 1856 to 1860 as commandant of cadets.

When Georgia seceded from the United States, Hardee resigned his commission on January 31st 1861. He became at Colonel in the Confederate States Army on March 7th 1861, with command of Fort Morgan in Alabama. Hardee was made a Lieutenant General October 10th 1862. His assignment was to organize an Arkansas regiment. Do to his seeing that his men were well supplied, they nicked named him “Old Reliable”. Hardee was a Corps commander in General Albert Sidney Johnston’s Army of Mississippi during the Battle of Shiloh, where he was wounded. His Corps was defeated by Union Major General George Henry Thomas during their assault on Missionary Ridge as part of the Battle of Chickamauga. Hardee was in the Battle of Bentonville in March 1865, where his only son 16 year old William was mortally wounded. Hardee surrendered to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman at Durham Station April 26th 1865.

Following the war Hardee went back to his wife’s plantation in Alabama. He latter moved to Selma, Alabama where Hardee worked in insurance and warehousing. He would become the president of the Selma and Meridian railroad, and co-author the book “The Irish in America” in 1868. Hardee took sick while with his family on vacation in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and died November 6th 1873 in Wytherville, Virginia. He is buried in the Live Oak Cemetery in Selma, Alabama.

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