A Civil War Biography

Archibald Gracie, Jr.

Gracie was born 1 December 1832 in New York City, New York. A member of a prominent New York Huguenot family, he was sent to study in Heidelberg, Germany. He then attended West Point graduating 14th in the class of 1854 and was assigned duty on the northwestern frontier. He resigned from the army in 1856 to join his father in the cotton-brokerage business in Mobile, Alabama. Gracie joined the state militia becoming a captain in Mobile's Washington Light Infantry. As the secession crisis intensified Gracie aligned himself with Alabama Governor Andrew B. Moore. On Moore's orders Gracie seized the federal arsenal at Mount Vernon, Alabama.

After Alabama formally left the Union the Washington Light Infantry was incorporated into the 3rd Alabama infantry regiment with Gracie as a company commander. The 3rd was sent to Virginia. Gracie was promoted to major and assigned to the 11th Alabama on 12 July 1861. He returned to Mobile in early 1862 and organized the 43rd Alabama of which he was elected colonel. He commanded the 43rd during the East Tennessee and Kentucky campaign for which he was promoted to brigadier general to rank from 4 November 1862. He commanded a brigade in William Preston's division of Simon B. Buckner's Corps at Chickamauga, the seige of Knoxville, and at Bean's Station where on 14 December 1863 Gracie was severely wounded. Following his recovery he was sent to Virginia and assigned in May 1864 to the command of P.G.T. Beauregard. While in the siege lines at Petersburg Gracie was killed by Union artillery on 2 December 1864, while observing enemy movements. Following the war Gracie's father had his remains moved to New York City. Gracie was eulogized in the poem, "Gracie of Alabama" by Francis O. Ticknor.

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