A Civil War Biography
William Flank Perry
Perry was born 12 March 1823 in Jackson County Georgia. He moved
with his family to Alabama in 1833. Perry showed an interest in
education and from 1848 until 1853 he served as the principal of a
high school in Talladega, Alabama. He was a self taught lawyer but
although admitted to the bar he never established a practice,
choosing to devote his energies to public education. In 1854 the
Alabama legislature selected him the state's first superintendent of
education. He resigned as superintendent in 1858 to become president
of East Alabama College, a women's college in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Perry enlisted as a private in the 44th Alabama infantry when it was
formed in early 1862. He was elected major in May then promoted to
lieutenant colonel following 2nd Manassas. He became colonel and
took over command following Sharpsburg. He commanded the regiment at
Gettysburg in the assault on the second day on Little Round Top. He
commanded the regiment at Chickamauga, the regiment having been sent
west with the rest of James Longstreet's Corps.
Once returned to the east the 44th saw action at the Wilderness,
Spotsylvania, and at North Anna with Perry in command. When Evander
Law, the brigade commander, was wounded at North Anna Perry assumed
brigade command and kept it until the surrender at Appomattox being
finally promoted to brigadier general on 21 February 1865.
Following the war Perry took up farming in Alabama. After two years
he returned to his career in education. He became a professor of
English and philosophy at Ogden College in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
He held that position until his death on 18 December 1901.
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