A Civil War Biography

Alexander Travis Hawthorn

Hawthorn was born 10 January 1825 near Evergreen, in Conecuh County, Alabama. He was educated at Evergreen Academy and Mercer University in Alabama before studying law at Yale. After completing his law studies in 1847 he moved to Camden, Arkansas where he established a practice.

When the war erupted Hawthorn offered his services to his adopted state. He joined the 6th Arkansas infantry and on 7 June 1861 was elected the regiment's lieutenant colonel. On 15 October 1861 he was promoted to colonel and given command of the 6th which he led at Shiloh. Following Shiloh, according to the 25 April 1862 Conscription Act the 6th was reorganized. On 14 May 1862 regimental elections were held and Hawthorn failed in his bid to retain command. He was reassigned to Arkansas in the Department of the Trans-Mississippi. On 4 November 1862 he was named colonel of what became known as Hawthorn's Arkansas regiment. He commanded this regiment when Confederates under Theophilus H Holmes attacked Helena, Arkansas. On 5 January 1864, when Hawthorn's regiment was reorganized, Hawthorn again failed in a bid to be reelected to command. Just over a month later, on 18 February 1864, he was promoted to brigadier general and assigned command of a brigade consisting of the 29th, 34th, and 35th Arkansas regiments. Hawthorn and his brigade were assigned to the division of Thomas J Churchill and took part in the campaign against Nathaniel P Banks in April 1864 along the Red River most notably gaining praise for the gallant fight at Jenkin's Ferry on 30 April 1864. Hawthorn remained in command of his brigade, under Churchill, until the end of the war.

Following being surrendered in Texas, Hawthorn fled first to Mexico then to Brazil where he remained until 1874. Upon returning to the United States he became a businessman in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1880 he was ordained a Baptist minister. He had done some ministry work while in Brazil. He set up a ministry near Dallas, Texas and remained there until he died on 31 May 1899.

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