James Alexander Seddon was born in Falmouth, Stafford, Virginia July 13th 1815. His health was never good and because of this he was educated at home. When he turned twenty-one Seddon entered the University of Virginia where he studied the law. After graduating in 1835 he settled in Richmond, Virginia where he had a successful law practice. Seddon was elected to Congress in 1845 as a Democrat. After serving two non-consecutive terms, his health caused him to leave politics. Seddon retired to his estate on the James River.The Peace Convention; an attempt to prevent the coming war, was held in Washington, DC in 1861, and Seddon attended. When the Peace Convention fell through, Seddon attended the Confederate Provisional Congress. Confederate President Jefferson Davis named Seddon the Secretary of War November 21st 1862; he would hold the post until January 1st 1865.
After the war was over Seddon returned to his estate and retired from political life. He died August 19th 1880.