Gabriel James Rains

Contributed by: Diane Siniard

Name: Gabriel James Rains 
State Served: North Carolina  
Highest Rank: Brig-Gen  
Birth Date: 1803 
Death Date: 1881 
Birth Place: Craven County, North Carolina 
Army: Confederacy  
Promotions: Promoted to Full Brig-Gen  
Biography: Brigadier-General Gabriel J. Rains was born in Craven county,
N. C., June, 1803, the son of Gabriel M. Rains, and was
educated at West Point, with graduation in the class of 1827,
of which Leonidas Polk was a member.

He was given a lieutenancy in the Seventh infantry, and during
his service in the West, mainly in Indian Territory, won
promotion to captain by the close of 1837. Participating in
the Florida war against the Seminole Indians, he defeated a
large body of the savages near Fort King, April 28, 1840, but
was so severely wounded that an announcement of his death was
widely published. He received the brevet of major for his
gallantry on this field.

Returning to duty, he served at the Louisiana and Florida
posts and in the military occupation of Texas. At Fort Brown
in 1846 he gave the deciding vote in the council of officers
against capitulation to General Ampudia and took an active
part in the defense.

He was at the battle of Resaca de la Palma, and immediately
after was detailed on recruiting service, in which he was
quite successful. In March, 1851, he was promoted to major,
and in the following year was sent by sea to California.

On the Pacific coast he made a fine reputation as an Indian
fighter, and in 1860 was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. Upon
the organization of the Confederate States he resigned from
the United States service and was commissioned colonel of
infantry in the regular army.

In September he was commissioned brigadier-general and
assigned by General Magruder to command of one of the brigades
on the Yorktown, Va., lines. Soon afterward he was given
charge of the first division of Magruder's army, the second
being under General McLaws.

He took a prominent part in the defense of Yorktown, and in
command of a brigade of Alabama and Georgia regiments
participated in the battles of Williamsburg and Seven Pines.
In the latter conflict he made an opportune flank movement
under great difficulties through a swamp and attacked the

He was subsequently put in charge of the bureau of
conscription at Richmond, and during his service in this
capacity he began the organization of a plan of torpedo
protection for the Southern harbors, which he subsequently put
in successful operation at Charleston, Mobile, Savannah and
other ports, also invented an explosive sub-terra shell, which
was an effective weapon of defense. He was appointed chief of
the torpedo bureau, June 17, 1864.

At the close of the war he made his home at Augusta, GA, and
subsequently removed to South Carolina.

From 1877 to 1880 he was connected with the quartermaster's
department, United States army, at Charleston. He died at
Aiken, S. C., August 6, 1881.

Source: Confederate Military History, vol. V, p. 339

Back to North Carolina Veterans of the Civil War

Back to NC in the Civil War Home Page

© 2005-2011  Diane Siniard