A Civil War Biography

John Bordenave Villepigue

Villepigue was born 2 July 1830 in Camden, South Carolina. He graduated 2nd in the West Point class of 1854 and was assigned as a brevet lieutenant in the 2nd Dragoons. He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant in 1855 then 1st lieutenant in 1857. He served on the frontier in Kansas and Nebraska, participated in 1855 Sioux expedition, the march to Fort Lookout in the Dakota territory in 1856, and the Utah expedition in 1857 and 1858.

Following the Utah expedition he spent a period of time at the cavalry school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania then returned to Utah where he was on duty when he resigned on 31 March 1861 to join the South.

He was commissioned a captain of artillery by the government in Montgomery, Alabama and then was promoted to colonel in the provisional Confederate army and assigned to the 36th Georgia regiment. Villepigue was seriously wounded during the 22 November 1861 defense of Fort McRee in Pensacola harbor where he first gained serious notice. He was appointed chief of engineers and artillery on the staff of Braxton Bragg. He commanded at Pensacola then was sent to Mobile.

He was promoted to brigadier general in early 1862 a was assigned to command at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River. He held off superior Union land and naval forces until ordered to withdraw which he did on 4 June 1862 after destroying the fortifications. He commanded the 2nd brigade in Lowell's division of Earl Van Dorn's army at Corinth in October 1862. Shortly after Corinth Villepigue contracted a fever which took his life at Port Hudson on 9 November 1862.

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