(1806–64) Confederate army officer. The North Carolinian was ordained in the Episcopal church and became bishop of the new Diocese of Louisiana in 1841. In the 1850s he devoted himself to organizing and founding the University of the South, which would represent the southern values he accepted, including slavery. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was commissioned a major general, thanks to an old friendship with Jefferson Davis, but his career as a commander was checkered; he tended to go his own way, sometimes in opposition to orders. He clashed repeatedly with Gen. Braxton Bragg and sought to undermine Bragg's career and reputation, eventually succeeding. Polk was killed by artillery fire while observing Union positions near Atlanta.
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.