A division commander early in the war, Lafayette McLaws proved capable but not brilliant enough to warrant further advancement. A graduate of West Point in 1842, he had been serving as a captain of infantry for almost 10 years when he resigned his commission to join the South on March 23, 1861.
The native Georgian's assignments included: major, Infantry (May 1861); colonel, 10th Georgia (June 17, 1861); brigadier general, CSA (September 25, 1861); commanding 1st brigade, Department of the Peninsula (October 3 - November 10, 1861); commanding 2nd Division, Department of the Peninsula (November 10, 1861 - April 12, 1862); commanding division, Magruder's Command, Department of Northern Virginia (April 12 - July 1862); major general, CSA (May 23, 1862); commanding division, lst Corps, Army of Northern Virginia (July 1862 - September 9, 1863); commanding division, Longstreet's Corps, Army of Tennessee (September 19 - November 5, 1863); commanding division, Department of East Tennessee (November 5 - December 17, 1863); commanding District of Georgia and 3rd Military District of South Carolina, Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida (May 25 - July 1864); and commanding division, same department (July 1864 - April 9, 1865).
Serving on the Peninsula during the first year of his service, he saw action during the Seven Days. In the Maryland Campaign he fought at Harpers Ferry and Antietam and later at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. He did not reach Chickamauga in time to serve with the part of the division which arrived from Virginia but took part in the Knoxville Campaign.
Longstreet became displeased with his cooperation and preparations for the assault at Fort Sanders and at Bean's Station. On December 17, 1863, he was relieved of command, and Longstreet brought charges against him for the Fort Sanders incident. A court found him guilty of some charges on May 4, 1864, but Jefferson Davis disapproved the findings on the 7th and ordered him back to duty with his division, now back in Virginia. It was thought better, however, to assign him other duty, and he was sent to the Southern coast where he fought at Bentonville during the Carolinas Campaign against Sherman. Following the surrender he was in insurance, a tax collector, and a postmaster. (Freeman, Douglas S., Lee's Lieutenants)
Source: "Who Was Who In The Civil War" by Stewart Sifakis
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