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Garnett Mercer Moreno Noland Pendleton

Obituary of James Mercer Garnett, Baltimore, Maryland.

Entered into rest eternal at his home, in Baltimore, Md., on February 18, 1916, in the seventy-sixth year of his age, Capt. James Mercer Garnett, Jackson's chief of ordnance in the Stonewall Brigade, later ordnance officer of Grimes's Division (formerly Rodes's), 2d Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Captain Garnett entered the army from the University of Virginia, where he was taking a postgraduate course, belonging to one of the two companies formed there, the Home Guards. When Lincoln's proclamation, April 15, 1861, called for seventy-five thousand men "to crush the rebellion," Captain Garnett received orders to march to Harper's Ferry April 17, but arrived to find that six hours before Lieut. Roger Jones, United States army, with a few men, had burned the armory buildings and retreated toward Carlisle, Pa. On July 13 he joined Capt. (later Brig. Gen.) W. N. Pendleton's battery, the Rockbridge Artillery, which his friends and college mates had already joined. At midday of the day following they started on the march to Manassas to take part in that great battle. He participated in this and many of the principle battles of the war, and his wonderful memory and accuracy made him and authority on all war subjects. He wrote a number of accounts of the various battles, among them being "The Battle of Second Manassas," "The Battle of Winchester, September 19, 1864," and "Early's Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley," all published in the Southern Historical Society papers, and many others. He left a war journal of great value that he wished to have published the past year.

Captain Garnett was born at Aldie, Loudoun County, Va. (the home of his great-uncle, the Hon. Charles Fenton Mercer), on April 24, 1840, the eldest son of Theodore Stanford Garnett, of Virginia, a distinguished civil engineer, and of Florentina Isadora Moreno, daughter of Francisco Moreno, who settled in Pensacola when Florida was still a Spanish colony. He came from a long line of famous men, statesmen and soldiers, in the Mercer and Garnett families, of Virginia, whose noblest characteristics he seemed to inherit. A man of unblemished honor, faithful and true in every relation of life, and of deep piety from his early boyhood, when he was confirmed by Bishop Johns at the Episcopal High School of Virginia, with his younger brother, Theodore, by his side. He was a cousin of Gen. Robert Seldon Garnett, who was killed at Carrick's Ford, July 13, 1861, and of Gen. Richard Brooke Garnett, who fell July 3, 1863, on the heights of Gettysburg, while bravely leading his men in Pickett's famous charge. He left a widow, Katherine H. Noland, daughter of Maj. Burr Powell Noland, Chief Commissary of Virginia, C. S. A., a son of James Merver Garnett, Jr. and sister, Miss Ella I. Garnett. His only brother, Judge Theodore S. Garnett, of Norfolk, who was Gen. J. E. B. Stuart's staff and Commander of the Virginia Department, U. C. V., died on April 27, 1915, lamented by all.

As a churchman, an author of great repute, and a distinguished scholar, Captain Garnett was widey known and honored. Taking the highest honors at the Episcopal High School of Virginia as a boy, he entered the University of Virginia and won the master's degree in two years (1857-59). He taught in Brookland School in 1859-60. In 1860-61 he took a postgraduate course at the University of Virginia. After four years in the Confederate army, and being "recommended for promotion for gallant conduct," he returned to the university in 1865 as Licentiate in Ancient Languages, also teaching at Midway School. In 1866-67 he was Professor of Greek and Mathematics at the Louisiana State University, and in 1868 he was Assistant Principal of the Episcopal High of Virginia. In 1869-70, while studying at Leipsic and Berlin Universities, he declined the principalship of the Episcopal High School offered him by the board and on his return home was elected to the presidency of St. John's CCollege, Annapolis, Md., which position he filled from 1870 to 1880, establishing and teaching the School of English in addition to his duties as President. In 1880 he established Garnett's University School for boys at Ellicott City, Md. It was in a most successful condition when he was appointed to the Chair of English Language and Literature at the University of Virginia, just established in 1882, remaining there fifteen years. In 1896-97 he was Professor of English at Goucher College, Baltimore, Md., in which city he spent the remainder of his life, teaching privately and engaging in literary work. The purity of his life, his courtesy and sincerity, and his deep Christian character made a lasting impression on his pupils and colleagues. He wrote the "History of the University of Virginia" at the request of that institution. His textbooks on Anglo-Saxon and English are widely used in colleges, and he occupied positions as president and vice president in scientific and literary societies.

But it is a Confederate soldier that his friends love to think of him. While at the University of Virginia he organized the John Barrie Strange Camp, U. C. V., at Charlottesville, and was its Commander until he left the State. A matter in which he took deep pride and interest was the organization of the Albemarle Chapter, U. D. C., the first in Virginia, to "help the Camp in caring for all worthy Confederates and their families who are in need" and "to aid the Camps of Confederate veterans in their benevolent and historical work." This chapter was formed at his home at the university May 15, 1894, by his wife and a few other Confederate ladies. The Chapter, now numbering ove one hundred, in unceasing in the work for which it was organized. Later Captain Garnett was an officer in the Franklin Buchanan Camp, Baltimore, until his death.

With deep love for the Southern Confederacy, unchanged and unwavering in his devotion and his convictions, he answered the last summons and in a moment, without a sigh, had "crossed over the river" and was at rest. And it was as a Confederate soldier that he lay in his gray uniform and gray casket, as he desired, marked "C. S. A." on the silver plate after his name, with the cross of honor and the insignia of the Confederacy on his breast, the battle flag beside him, and was carried back to his beloved State and laid to rest in a lot he had chosen near the Confederate soldiers' section of the Middleburg Cemetery, beside the comrades who had died of wounds in hospitals there after the first battle of Manassas (to whom a monument was erected in 1866), who, like himself, had fought the good fight and kept the faith to the end.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, July, 1916.

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