A Civil War Biography

Francis Stebbings Bartow

Bartow was born 6 September 1816 in Savannah, Georgia. He graduated from Yale Law School then settled in his native state as a planter and slave-owner. He originally supported the Whig party then switched to the Know-Nothing party.

In 1856, some sources say 1854, he ran unsuccessfully to represent Georgia's 1st district in the US Congress. By 1860 he had joined the Democratic party and become a strong supporter of secession. He was a delegate to the Georgia Secession Convention then was elected to the Provisional Confederate Congress. Although he believed and hoped the North would allow the South to leave the Union peacefully, Bartow joined the Oglethorpe Light Infantry, a home guard unit in which the son's of Savannah's leading families served, as a captain on 21 May 1861. When the Confederate Congress voted to forbid people from holding both political and military office, Bartow chose to remain in the military and gave up his Congressional seat.

The Ogelthorpe Light infantry took part in the seizure of Fort Pulaski then was incorporated into the 8th Georgia Infantry. Bartow was elected colonel of the 8th on 1 June 1861. He, along with the 8th were sent to the Shenandoah Valley, where Bartow was given command of the 2nd brigade/ Army of the Shenandoah. His command was part of the troops rushed by rail from the Shenandoah Valley on 21 June 1861 to take part in the battle known to the South as 1st Manassas. Bartow, while leading his troops in a charge down Henry Hill, was mortally wounded. His last words were reported to have been, "They have killed me boys, but never give up the field."

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