A Civil War Biography

Dandridge McRae

McRae was born 10 October 1829 in Baldwin County, Alabama. He was educated on the family's plantation by a private tutor then attended the University of South Carolina from which he graduated in 1849. Following graduation he moved to White County, Arkansas where he helped his mother run her plantation. She had moved to Arkansas shortly after her husband had died in March 1849. McRae moved to Searcy, Arkansas in 1853 and began to study the law. He was admitted to the bar in 1854 and established a law practice. In 1856 he was elected clerk of the county and circuit courts of White County.

When the war erupted McRae was serving as the inspector general of his adopted state engaged in organizing troops. He resigned as inspector general to enter Confederate service becoming a major in the 3rd Arkansas battalion. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 15 July 1861 and led the 3rd at Wilson's Creek. The 3rd eventually became the 21st Arkansas infantry regiment and McRae became its colonel on 3 December. He commanded the 21st at Elkhorn Tavern and Corinth. On 20 May 1862 he declined reelected to the colonelcy of the 21st and returned to Arkansas where he helped organize the 28th Arkansas becoming the regiment's colonel when it was mustered into service that June. The 28th served mostly in Arkansas. Although praised by many of his superiors he was criticized by Theophilus Holmes for the lack of discipline shown by his troops in October. McRae, however, was promoted to brigadier general on 5 November and was given command of a brigade in Thomas Hindman's division. During the campaign to relieve Vicksburg in July 1863 Holmes again attacked McRae's abilities. Holmes accused McRae of misbehaving before the enemy for failing to support Thomas Fagan's troops in front of Hindman's Hill. It wasn't until December 1864 that E. Kirby Smith cleared McRae of the charges. Sterling Price came to McRae's defense. McRae had served under Price during the Red River campaign. Shortly after serving with Price, McRae resigned his commission and returned to Searcy and his law practice.

Following the war McRae continued practicing the law until 1881 when he was appointed Deputy Secretary of State, a position he held for four years. He was acting commissioner for Arkansas during the 1885 to 1886 World's Fair in New Orleans, Louisiana. He served as vice president of the Bureau of Emigration for Arkansas in 1887. On 26 December 1888 he was appointed an expert in gathering information by the US Treasury Department. McRae died 23 April 1899 in Searcy.

Return to Biography Index



  home · Today's News · Civil War Trivia · Civil War Cookbook · Discussion Board · links · Advertising · Biographies
Civil War Interactive
11378 Purdy Rd.
Huntingdon, TN 38344

CWi is pleased to be hosted by Data 1 Systems