John Bordenave Villepigue was born July 2nd 1830 in Camden, Kershaw, South Carolina. He attended the South Carolina Military Academy in 1846, the Citadel in 1847 and finally graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1854, the 2nd in his class. Villepigue’s first duty as a Second Lieutenant was with the 2nd United States Dragoons. He saw action in Kansas and Nebraska against the Sioux, and was part of the Utah campaign in 1857. Promoted to First Lieutenant he taught for a time at the Carlisle Cavalry School in Pennsylvania.
Villepigue was on duty in Utah when the Civil War started, he resigned his commission in the Union Army March 31st 1861. He took a commission in the Confederate Army of Captain of artillery. In a short time Villepigue was promoted to Colonel in the 36th Georgia Infantry, and he took command of Fort McRee in time for the bombing on November 22nd 1861, where he was seriously wounded. Serving under Confederate General Braxton Bragg; who praised him for his leadership, Bragg said Villepigue was "an educated soldier, possessing in an eminent degree the love and confidence of his officers and men, he had been specially selected for this important and perilous post." He moved onto Mobile, Alabama and received an appointment to Brigadier General in 1862. Villepigue commanded a brigade at the Second Battle of Corinth in October 1862, serving under Confederate Major General Earl van Dorn.
Villepigue caught a fever during the campaign. He was sent to Port Hudson, Louisiana to recuperate, but developed pneumonia and died November 9th 1862. He is buried in the Old Quaker Cemetery in Camden, South Carolina.