Theophilus Hunter Holmes

Contributed by: Diane Siniard

Name: Theophilus Hunter Holmes 
Highest Rank: Lieut-Gen  
Birth Date: 1804 
Death Date: 1880 
Birth Place: Sampson County, North Carolina 
Army: Confederacy  
Promotions: Promoted to Full Colonel (Corps of Infantry)
Promoted to Full Brig-Gen
Promoted to Full Brig-Gen
Promoted to Full Lt General  

Biography: HOLMES, T. H.

Lieutenant-General Theophilus H. Holmes was born November
11, 1804, in Sampson county, North Carolina, the son of Gabriel
Holmes, congressman and governor. He was graduated from the West
Point military academy in 1829; served in frontier duty in Indian
Territory and elsewhere; was promoted lieutenant and captain of
the Seventh infantry; served in the Florida Indian wars, 1839 to
1842; was stationed at New Orleans and vicinity; joined the Texas
army of occupation; won the brevet of major at Monterey and was
distinguished at Vera Cruz.

Subsequently he was on duty in garrison and on the frontier; took
part in the expeditions against the Seminoles and the Navajoes;
was promoted major March 3, 1855, and when the Confederacy was
formed held the position at Governor's Island of superintendent
of the general recruiting service of the United States army.

He resigned early in 1861 to take part in the Southern struggle
for independence. President Davis, who had known "him from his
schoolboy days, had served with him in garrison and in field, and
with pride watched him as he gallantly led a storming party up
the rocky height at Monterey," promoted him from colonel, C. S.
A., his first Confederate rank, to that of brigadier-general,
June 5, 1861.

He commanded a brigade at Aquia Creek, which he led to Manassas
for participation in the defeat of McDowell. Subsequently he was
put in command of the Aquia district, with the rank of major-
general, the other two districts of the department being under
Stonewall Jackson and Beauregard.

He commanded a division during the Seven Days' battles before
Richmond, and at the conclusion of that campaign took command of
the department of North Carolina, whence he was soon transferred
to the command of the Trans-Mississippi department and promoted
to the rank of lieutenant-general.

He accepted the service but declined the promotion until it was
again offered in the fall of 1862, when he accepted the rank. He
reached Vicksburg July 30, 1862, and soon established his
headquarters at Little Rock. In this department he made a manly
struggle against adverse conditions until the following March,
when he was relieved by Edmund Kirby Smith, under whose general
command General Holmes retained charge of the district of

On the day that Vicksburg surrendered, he made an assault upon
the Federal force at Helena under General Prentiss, where the
Confederate troops were distinguished for fearless action, but
failed to carry the enemy's works. Subsequently on account of
illness he turned over the military command to General Price, but
resumed it after Price had retreated from Little Rock.

The greater part of the State was now occupied by an overwhelming
Federal force, against which no further hostilities were
attempted during the service of General Holmes in that field. In
March, 1864, he was relieved of command in Arkansas, and placed
in charge of the reserve forces of North Carolina.

As commander of the defenses of North Carolina, he was of great
value in the organization of the troops of that State, until, in
June, he was called to the department of Fredericksburg. He was
a brave and fearless officer and esteemed for his virtues. After
the close of the war he retired to Fayetteville, and passed the
remainder of his life upon a small farm, which he tilled with his
own hands, accepting the reverses of fortune with unmurmuring
patience. He died June 21, 1880. His eldest son fell at Malvern

Source: Confederate Military History, vol. 1, p. 673

Colonel, Corps of Infantry, C. S. A., March 16, 1861.
Brigadier general, P. A. C. S., June 5, 1861.
Major general, P. A. C. S., October 7, 1861.
Lieutenant general, P. A. C. S., October 10, 1862.
Died at Fayetteville, N. C., June 20, 1880.


Commanding defenses of North Carolina, April 22, 1861.

Commanding Department of Fredericksburg, June 5, 1861.
July 21, 1861, commanding a brigade, Army of the Potomac.

Commanding Aquia District, Department of Northern
Virginia, October 22, 1861, to March 23, 1862.

Commanding brigade, Army of the Potomac, in 1861.

Division composed of the brigades of Daniel, Walker and
Wise, Army of Northern Virginia.

Commanding Department of North Carolina, March 24, 1862.

Commanding Trans-Mississippi Department, July 16, 1862, to
March 18, 1863.

Commanding District of Arkansas, March 18, 1863, to March
11, 1864.

Commanding Reserve Forces of North Carolina, April 18,

Commanding paroled prisoners of Mississippi, Arkansas,

Missouri, Texas and Louisiana, which formed the garrisons of
Vicksburg and Port Hudson.

Commanding District in Department of North Carolina, 1865.

Holmes, Theophilus Hunter, born in North Carolina,
appointed from North Carolina cadet United States Military

Academy, September 1, 1825; graduated forty-fourth in a class
of forty-six.

Brevet second lieutenant, and second lieutenant, Seventh
Infantry, July 1, 1829.

First lieutenant, March 26, 1835.

Regimental adjutant, August 9, to December 9, 1838.

Captain, December 9, 1838.

Major, Eighth Infantry, March 3, 1855.

Brevet major, September 23, 1846, for gallant conduct in
several conflicts at Monterey, Mexico.

Resigned April 22, 1861.

Source: General Officers of the Confederate States of America

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