(1836–1906) U.S. and Confederate army officer. Born in Augusta, Georgia, on September 10, 1836, Joseph Wheeler was graduated from West Point and commissioned a lieutenant of dragoons in 1859. He served in New Mexico until April 1861 when he resigned and accepted a commission in the Confederate army. Assigned to Fort Barrancas, Florida, he was soon offered the colonelcy of the 19th Alabama Infantry. He rose to command an infantry brigade in 1862 before transferring to command the cavalry of the Army of Mississippi in July 1862. He subsequently earned a reputation as the leading Confederate cavalry commander in the western theater, conducting successful rearguard actions after the battles of Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River (all 1862), and Chickamauga (1863). In 1864–1865, Wheeler's cavalry opposed Sherman's march to the sea and through the Carolinas. Wheeler was captured near Atlanta, Georgia, in May 1865, as he attempted to protect the fleeing Confederate President, Jefferson Davis. After the Civil War, he ran a hardware store, became a successful plantation owner, practiced law, and entered Democratic politics in Alabama, winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1883. He served eight terms in Congress and was a member of the
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.