Rufus Barringer

Contributed by: Diane Siniard

Name: Rufus Barringer 
State Served: North Carolina  
Highest Rank: Brig-Gen  
Birth Date: 1821 
Death Date: 1895 
Birth Place: Cabarrus County, North Carolina 
Army: Confederacy  
Promotions: Promoted to Full Captain
Promoted to Full Major (Estimated day)
Promoted to Full Brig-Gen  
Biography: Brigadier-General Rufus Barringer was born in Cabarrus county,
N. C., December 2, 1821. He was of sturdy German stock, a
grandson of John Paul Barringer, who was born in Wurtemburg,
June 4, 1721, and emigrated to this country, arriving at
Philadelphia, in the ship Phoenix, September 30, 1743.

John Paul or Paulus Barringer, as he was called, married
Catharine, daughter of Caleb Blackwelder and Polly Decker of
Germany. Of their ten children by this (second) marriage, the
eldest, Paul Barringer, was prominent in the service of the
State and was commissioned a brigadier-general during the war
of 1812. During his infancy his grandfather Blackwelder, and
his father Paulus Barringer, a captain in the colonial militia
and a conspicuous member of the committee of safety, were
taken prisoners by the tories and carried to Cheraw, S. C.

Paul Barringer married Elizabeth, daughter of Jean Armstrong
and Matthew Brandon, who was with Joseph Graham and Colonel
Locke in the repulse of the British near Charlotte, and also
served with Col. John Brandon at Ramseur's mill.

Gen. Rufus Barringer, son of the above, was born in 1821, and
was graduated at North Carolina university in 1842. He
studied law with his brother Moreau, then with Chief Justice
Pearson, settling in Concord. A Whig in politics, in 1848 he
served in the lower house of the State legislature, and here
was in advance of his time in advocating a progressive system
of internal improvements.

The following session he was elected to the State senate. He
then devoted himself to his practice until he was made in 1860
a Whig elector in behalf of Bell and Everett. He was
tenacious of his principles, and not to be swerved from duty
by any amount of ridicule or opposition; was devotedly
attached to the Union and the Constitution, and with rare
discernment saw that the consequence of secession would be
war, the fiercest and bloodiest of modern times, and he was so
outspoken with his convictions that he was once caricatured in
the streets of Charlotte.

However, when he saw that war was inevitable, his duty to his
State came uppermost, and even before the final ordinance of
secession was passed he urged the legislature, then in
session, to arm the State and warn the people that they must
now prepare for war.

He himself was among the first to volunteer. He raised in
Cabarrus county a company of cavalry, of which he was chosen
captain and which became Company F, First North Carolina
cavalry, his commission bearing date May 16, 1861.

He was promoted to major, August 26, 1863, and three months
later to lieutenant-colonel. In June, 1864, he was
commissioned brigadier-general, and succeeded to the command
of the North Carolina cavalry brigade, consisting of the
First, Second, Third and Fifth regiments.

General Barringer was in seventy-six actions and was thrice
wounded, most severely at Brandy Station. He had two horses
killed under him at other engagements. He was conspicuous at
the battles of Willis' Church, Brandy Station, Auburn Mills;
Buckland Races, where he led the charge; Davis' Farm, where he
was commander; and he was in command of a division at Reams'

His brigade was distinguished at Chamberlain Run, March 31,
1865, when it forded a stream one hundred yards wide, saddle-
girth deep, under a galling fire, and drove back a division of
Federal cavalry, this being the last decisive Confederate
victory on Virginia soil.

On April 3, 1865, at Namozine church, he was taken prisoner by
a party of "Jesse scouts" disguised as Confederates, Colonel
Young and Captain Rowland among them, and sent to City Point
along with General Ewell.

President Lincoln, then at City Point, was at Colonel Bowers'
tent and asked that General Barringer be presented to him,
jocosely adding, "You know I have never seen a real live rebel
general in uniform. " The President greeted him warmly, and
was pleased to recall acquaintanceship with his elder brother,
D. M. Barringer, with whom he served in Congress.

General Barringer was then sent on to the old Capitol prison,
and afterward transferred to Fort Delaware, where he was
detained till August, 1865. While there, he had the
opportunity of ascertaining the current of public sentiment in
regard to the results of the war, and as he had foreseen that
war would follow secession, he now realized that the
conquerors decreed free suffrage, and believed the wisest
action of the South would be to accept the consequences.

With his accustomed directness and fearlessness of action, he
advocated the acceptance of the reconstruction acts of 1867,
and urged his fellow citizens to the policy he believed best
suited to the country. Of course he suffered from the violent
animosity incident to political differences, yet the
appreciation of his home people was shown by his election in
1875 to the State constitutional convention, as a Republican
from a Democratic county, and though defeated for lieutenant-
governor in 1880, his own Democratic county gave him a
majority of its votes.

In 1865 General Barringer removed to Charlotte, and resumed
the practice of law till 1884; at first in partnership with
Judge Osborne. After his retirement from the bar he devoted
himself to his farming interests, striving to imbue the farmer
with ambition for improvement in himself and his

For this purpose he often had recourse to the press, the last
week of his life contributing to the papers an article
protesting against the farmers' desertion of their homes for
the towns. He had abiding faith in the power of the press and
in its influence for good.

Among his latest pleasures were talking with the old veterans
and contributing to the history of the war. In 1881 he wrote
a series of cavalry sketches describing the battles of Five
Forks and Chamberlain Run, Namozine Church, and other notable
engagements, which are preserved to-day among the most
interesting and valuable historical data of the war; and again
he made valuable contributions to " The War Between the
States," published by John A. Sloane.

He was ever interested in history, and zealous of the fame of
North Carolina. He wrote sketches of "The Dutch Side," a
history of the "Battle of Ramseur's Mill," "A History of the
North Carolina Railroad," etc.

On November 19, 1894, came a plea from Judge Clark for a
history of the Ninth regiment, State troops (First North
Carolina cavalry), saying, "You are very busy, and that is one
reason you are selected. Only busy men have the energy and
talent to do this work. Your record as a soldier satisfies me
that you will not decline the post of duty. "

Already confined to bed, he called for books and papers, and
with the zeal and haste of one impressed with the importance
of the work and the shortness of time, he put on the finishing
touches not many days before the end. It was a labor of love.

The purpose of his thought, which never seemed to weaken, was
the uplifting of his fellow men, the prosperity of his beloved
church, and care for his old comrades. One of his last
injunctions to his son was, "Remember Company F; see that not
one of them ever suffers want. They ever loved me, they were
ever faithful to me, and Paul, always stand by our Confederate
soldiers, and North Carolina. Let her never be traduced."

He died February 3, 1895, leaving a wife and three sons; the
eldest, Dr. Paul Barringer, now chairman of the university of
Virginia; the youngest, Osmond Long Barringer, with his mother
in Charlotte. His first wife was Eugenia Morrison, sister of
Mrs. T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson; the second Rosalie Chunn, of
Asheville; the surviving one Margaret Long of Orange county.

Source: Confederate Military History, vol. V, p294

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