Sunday, January 30, 2011

Brigadier General Walter Gwynn, CSA

Walter Gwynn (1802-1882) was an American civil engineer and soldier. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in the Class of 1822. In 1827, he helped survey the route for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. In 1833, he was involved and an engineer in the building of the Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad. He was Superintendent and Chief Engineer of the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad in North Carolina from 1836 to 1840. In 1846, he became president of the James River and Kanawha Canal Company, which was funded by the Virginia Board of Public Works.

Walter Gwynn was a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. In 1861, he was directed by Virginia governor John Letcher to assume command of the defenses around Norfolk and Portsmouth. He oversaw construction of defensive fortification at Sewell's Point, which was across the mouth of Hampton Roads from Fort Monroe at Old Point Comfort. In 1862, he participated in the Battle of Big Bethel during the Peninsula Campaign. In 1863, he was named comptroller of the State of Florida.

After the war, he returned to civil engineering in North Carolina. He died in 1882.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Col. Samuel L. Gwin

Colonel Samuel Gwin

Written by Jay Guy Cisco
Historic Sumner County, Tennessee 1909

Samuel L. Gwin was a brother of Senator Gwin. He also located in Mississippi, where he became prominent; though less so than his brother, and less is know of him.

The following letter, copied from Claiborne’s History of Mississippi will give some idea of Colonel Gwin:
Washington, October 14, 1831
Hon. George Poindexter, United States Senator:
My recent appointment, Register of the Land Office at Mount Salus, makes it my duty to explain to you why I sought the position, and to say something of my antecedents.
I am a native of Tennessee; was a volunteer under Jackson in his Indian campaigns; was in Coffees brigade in the assault and capture of Pensacola in 1814, and in all the engagements with the British below New Orleans. I lost my health by long protracted exposure, and to this day am a habitual sufferer.

In 1829 the Postmaster General was good enough to give me a clerkship in his department, since which time I have never been absent from my post. My beloved wife is now threatened with consumption, and I am advised that the only hope for her is to take her to a warmer climate. Under this advice, and with this hope, and for the happiness of a young family, I submitted the case to the President, and, with the noble sympathies of his nature, he conferred on me the Mount Salus appointment. I do not apprehend that anyone will doubt my qualifications or character, but I fear my non-residence may be considered an objection. For this I must ask indulgence.
I have never resided in Mississippi, but have shed my blood on her soil in her defense, as the records of our battles will attest.
My venerable father and his six brothers were soldiers of the Revolution.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Samuel Gwin

Senator Poindexter bitterly resented the appointment of Colonel Gwin, and from that time on made vigorous war on President Jackson. He succeeded in the Senate in having the nomination of Colonel Gwin rejected, and he appointed to the new Land Office at Choccchuma, a more profitable position.
The Gwins' succeeded in defeating Senator Poindexter for re-election.
The canvass resulted in a duel between Judge Isaac Caldwell, Poindexter’s law partner, and Colonel Gwin.
Both parties fell. Caldwell expired in two hours. Gwin was shot through the lungs and survived a year.