A Civil War Biography
Arnold Elzey (Jones)
Elzey was born Arnold Elzey Jones on 18 December 1816 at "Elmwood"
in Somerset County, Maryland. He was appointed to West Point in 1833
and entered that institution as a cadet on 1 September of that year.
He graduated 33rd in the class of 1837 on 1 July 1837 he was
assigned as a 2nd lieutenant to the 2nd artillery. Shortly after
graduation he dropped the Jones from his name figuring there were
many Jones in the US Army and, wanting to make a name for himself,
he would be the only Elzey. Elzey was his paternal grandmother's
name. He served during the Seminole War in Florida in 1837 and 1838
then in the Cherokee nation. He was assigned at Detroit, Michigan
during the border disputes in 1839. We was promoted to 1st
lieutenant on 12 November 1839 and spent the next few years on
recruiting duty. He saw action during the war with Mexico and was
brevetted captain for gallantry along with being cited by the
Maryland General Assembly for his service. He was promoted to
captain on 14 February 1849 and fought in the Seminole wars of
1849-1850 and 1856.
When the Civil War erupted Elzey was in command of the US arsenal at
Augusta, Georgia. After he surrendered the arsenal to Confederate
authorities in early April 1861 he led his troops in his command to
Washington DC where on 25 April 1861 he resigned from the army. He
then headed to Richmond where he offered his services to the
Confederacy. He was assigned as a colonel in the 1st Maryland
infantry regiment. He commanded a brigade in Kirby Smith's division
at First Manassas and after Smith was wounded Elzey led a successful
charge for which he was praised by the army's commander, PGT
Beauregard. Elzey was promoted in the field to brigadier general by
Jefferson Davis to rank from 21 July 1861. He commanded the 4th
brigade in Richard Ewell's division during "Stonewall" Jackson's
storied Valley Campaign. Elzey was wounded in the leg and his horse
was shot from under him at Port Republic. Still commanding the 4th
brigade during the Seven Days he was severely wounded at Gaines'
Mill. A minie ball struck him just above the mouth and passed out
behind his left ear. This wound kept him from further active
service. When he did return to active duty he was promoted to major
general to rank from 4 December 1862 and given command of the
Department of Richmond in charge of defending the capital. He
organized the Local Defense Brigade made up of government clerks. He
also helped organize the Virginia reserves. As the war was drawing
to a close he joined John B. Hood in Georgia serving as chief of
artillery for the Army of Tennessee. By the time Elzey joined Hood,
Hood's army had already been wrecked. Elzey was relieved of any
further duty on 17 February 1865. He was paroled at Washington,
Georgia in May 1865.
Following his parole at Washington, Georgia in May 1865, Elzey
retired to a farm near Jessup's Cut, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
He died 21 February 1871 in Baltimore, Maryland.
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