A Civil War Biography

James Green Martin

Martin was born 14 February 1819 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He graduated 14th in the West Point class of 1840 just behind Richard S. Ewell, 13th and George H. Thomas 12th. As a lieutenant in the artillery Martin served along the Atlantic Coast and the Canadian border. At Churubusco during the war with Mexico, Martin, then a captain, lost his right arm to amputation following being wounded by grapeshot. He remained in the army serving in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and on the frontier until the outbreak of the civil war.

He resigned from the US Army on 14 June 1861 and offered his services to North Carolina. He was commissioned captain of cavalry in the Confederate army and named adjutant general of North Carolina on 20 September 1861. He was appointed major general of the North Carolina militia on 28 September and was charged with preparing state troops for Confederate service, raising 12,000 more than the state's quota.

It was at his suggestion that blockade-running ships were first employed to bring supplies from Europe. Martin requested field duty and was promoted to brigadier general in the Confederate army on 2 June 1862 to rank from 15 May. He was assigned, however to a desk job commanding the District of North Carolina on 18 August with headquarters at Kinston. He resigned his commission late in July because the duties conflicted with his state position, but was reappointed on 11 August again to rank from 15 May.

Finally in the fall of 1863 Martin was directed to organize a brigade and take the field. The brigade composed of the 17th, 42nd, 50th, and 66th North Carolina regiments went into camp near Wilmington. Although subjected to rigorous training the brigade affectionately referred to Martin as "Old One Wing". On 2 February 1864, in conjunction with George E. Pickett's operations against New Berne, Martin's brigade routed the Union garrison at Newport. The brigade was called to Virginia and arrived at Petersburg on 14 May 1864. The brigade saw action at Second Drewey's Bluff on 20 May capturing part of the Union works on Bermuda Hundred and during the siege of Petersburg. During the siege, Martin's health failed under the strain and he was sent to command the District of Western North Carolina with headquarters at Asheville. He surrendered on 10 May 1865 at Waynesville and took up the practice of law in Asheville where he died on 4 October 1865.

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