Bryan Grimes

Contributed by: Diane Siniard

Name: Bryan Grimes 
State Served: North Carolina  
Highest Rank: Major-Gen  
Birth Date: 1828 
Death Date: 1880 
Birth Place: Pitt County, North Carolina 
Army: Confederacy  
Promotions: Promoted to Full Major (4th NC Inf)
Promoted to Full Colonel
Promoted to Full Brig-Gen
Promoted to Full Major-Gen  
Biography: GRIMES, BRYAN


Major, Fourth North Carolina Infantry (State troops), July
16, 1861
Colonel, Fourth North Carolina Infantry, June 19, 1862.
Brigadier general, P. A. C. S., May 19, 1864.
Major general, P. A. C. S., February 15, 1865.

Died August 14, 1880.


Brigade composed of the Thirty-second, Forty-third, Forty-
fifth and Fifty-third North Carolina Regiments Infantry, and
the Second North Carolina Battalion of Infantry, formerly
Brigadier General Daniels' Brigade.

Division composed of his own brigade and the brigades of
Battle, Cook and Cox, Army of Northern Virginia, from September
19, 1864, to April 9, 1865.

Source: Generals of the Confederate States Army

Major-General Bryan Grimes was born at Grimesland, Pitt
county, N. C., November 2, 1828, the youngest son of Bryan and
Nancy Grimes. He was graduated at the university of North
Carolina in 1848, then made his home upon a plantation in Pitt
county, and in April, 1851, was married to Elizabeth Hilliard,
daughter of Dr. Thomas Davis, of Franklin county.

This lady died a few years later, and in 1860 he traveled in
Europe, but returned home soon after the national election.
He hastened to the scene of conflict at Fort Sumter as soon as
he heard of the bombardment, and then visited Pensacola and
New Orleans, returning to take a seat in the convention of his
State which adopted the ordinance of secession.

In the latter part of May he resigned his seat in this body
and accepted appointment as major of the Fourth infantry
regiment, in organization at Garysburg under Col. George B.

He reached Virginia after the battle of First Manassas; May 1,
1862, was promoted lieutenant-colonel, and thereafter
commanded his regiment with promotion to colonel June 19th.
At Seven Pines every officer of the regiment but himself, and
462 out of 520 men, were killed or wounded. His horse's head
was blown off by a shell, and the animal fell upon him, but he
waved his sword and shouted, "Forward!" and when released from
his painful position, seized the regimental flag and led his
men in their successful charge.

At Mechanicsville the remnant of the command was again
distinguished. At this time General Anderson declared,
"Colonel Grimes and his regiment are the keystone of my

He was disabled by typhoid fever until the Maryland campaign,
and as he went into that his leg was so injured by the kick of
a horse that amputation was considered necessary; but
nevertheless he took the field at Sharpsburg, and another
horse was killed under him, the third of the seven which he
thus lost during his career.

General Anderson was mortally wounded in this battle, and in
November Grimes was assigned to temporary command of the
brigade, which he led at the battle of Fredericksburg. At
Chancellorsville he and his regiment were distinguished on all
three days of battle, on the third driving the enemy from
their breastworks at the point of the bayonet, but at the cost
of many lives. In this fight the gallant colonel again
narrowly escaped death.

In the Pennsylvania campaign he and his men were in the
advance of Ewell's corps, and on picket eight miles from
Harrisburg; and at Gettysburg on the first day they were the
first to enter the village and drive the enemy to the heights
beyond, only pausing in obedience to orders.

During the retreat from Pennsylvania he served efficiently on
the rear guard. At Spottsylvania Court House, after General
Ramseur was wounded, he led the brigade in an impetuous charge
which recovered much of the ground gained by Hancock at the
"bloody angle," in recognition of which General Lee told the
brigade "they deserved the thanks of the countryÄthey had
saved his army."

General Daniel having been mortally wounded in this fight,
Colonel Grimes was put in command of his brigade. On May
19th, after he had made an effective fight in a flank movement
upon the enemy, General Rodes declared: "You have saved
Ewell's corps, and shall be promoted, and your commission
shall bear date from this day. "

This promise was fulfilled early in June, and soon afterward
he took his men to the Shenandoah valley, and joined in the
movement through Maryland to Washington. In the fall campaign
in the valley, though in impaired health, he did his duty
gallantly and desperately against the overwhelming numbers of
the Federals, and had many remarkable escapes from death or

When Ramseur fell at Cedar Creek, he took command of the
division, which he held until the end, being promoted major-
general in February, 1865. In spite of their terrible
reverses, he infused such spirit in his men that they were
able to rout 4,000 Federal cavalry at Rude's hill, November

In the spring of 1865 he fought in the Petersburg trenches,
and participated with great gallantry in the fight at Fort
Stedman, in which he rode a captured horse, and was a
conspicuous target to the enemy, but still seemed to bear a
charmed life. When his line was broken April 2nd, he rushed
down his line on foot, and seizing a musket joined in the fire
upon the enemy, until his troops, encouraged by his coolness,
were able to recover the greater part of their lines.

During the retreat from Petersburg he was almost constantly in
battle; at Sailor's Creek saved himself by riding his horse
through the stream and up the precipitous banks amid a shower
of bullets, and on the next day led his division in a splendid
charge which captured the guns taken from Mahone and many
Federal prisoners, winning the compliments of General Lee.

Bushrod Johnson's division was now added to his command, and
on April 9th the other two divisions of the corps, Evans' and
Walker's, were put under his command, he having volunteered to
make the attack to clear the road toward Lynchburg. He was
successful in driving the enemy from his front, but after
receiving repeated orders to withdraw fell back to his
original line, and was then informed of the proposed

At first refusing to submit to this, he was about to call upon
his men to cut their way out, when General Gordon reminded him
of the interpretation which might be put upon such action
during a truce, and he was compelled by his sense of honor to

As an estimate of his character as a soldier, the words of
Gen. D. H. Hill in March, 1863, are exact and comprehensive:
"He has been in many pitched battles and has behaved most
gallantly in them all. His gallantry, ripe experience,
admirable training, intelligence and moral worth constitute
strong claims for pro motion. "

After the close of hostilities he returned to his plantation.
He had married in 1863, Charlotte Emily, daughter of Hon. John
B. Bryan, of Raleigh, and several children were born to them.
His life went on in quiet and honor until August 14, 1880,
when he was shot by an assassin and almost instantly killed.

Source: Confederate Military History, vol. V, p. 314

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