Richard Brooke Garnett - Facts

November 21, 1817 - July 3, 1863

Key facts about Confederate Brigadier General Richard B. Garnett who was mortally wounded during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863.

Painting of Pickett's Charge

Richard Garnett was mortally wounded, probably by grapeshot, during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1862. [Wikimedia Commons]

Full Name:

  • Richard Brooke Garnett

Birth Date:

  • November 21, 1817

Birth Location:

  • Probably at “Rose Hill,” one of his family’s three plantations in Essex County, Virginia

Parents:

  • William Henry and Anna Maria (Brooke) Garnett

Education:

  • United States Military Academy (1841)

Occupation:

  • Military officer

Career Summary:

  • Captain (USA)
  • Brigadier General (CSA)

Spouse:

  • None

Place of Death:

  • Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Date of Death:

  • July 3, 1863

Place of Burial:

  • Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia

Significance:

  • Richard Brooke Garnett was born on November 21, 1817, probably at “Rose Hill,” one of his family’s three plantations in Essex County, Virginia.
  • Richard Garnett was one of the twin boys and six girls born to William Henry and Anna Maria (Brooke) Garnett.
  • Richard Garnett’s father was a wealthy planter who served with the Virginia militia during the War of 1812.
  • As a youngster, Richard Garnett attended the Norfolk Academy.
  • On September 1, 1837, Richard Garnett entered the United States Military Academy, along with his cousin, Robert (who later became the first general officer killed during the American Civil War).
  • Among Richard Garnett’s classmates at West Point were future Union generals Don Carlos Buell, John F. Reynolds, Nathaniel Lyon, and Horatio G. Wright.
  • In 1841, Richard Garnett graduated from the United States Military Academy ranked 29th in his class of 52 cadets.
  • Following his graduation from West Point, Richard Garnett was commissioned as a brevet second lieutenant on July 1, 1841, and assigned to the 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment.
  • Richard Garnett served for twenty years with the 6th U.S. Infantry Regiment in the West where he campaigned against American Indians and helped settle territorial disputes.
  • From September 6, 1845 to March 9, 1851, Richard Garnett served as aide-de-camp to his uncle, Brevet Brigadier General George Mercer.
  • Richard Garnett was promoted to first lieutenant in the U.S. Army on February 16, 1847.
  • Richard Garnett was promoted to captain in the U.S. on May 9, 1855.
  • Richard Garnett resigned his commission in the U.S. Army on May 17, 1861, to fight for his home state of Virginia in the American Civil War.
  • By September 1861, Richard Garnett had advanced to the rank of lieutenant colonel of Cobb’s Georgia Legion.
  • On November 14, Richard Garnett was promoted to brigadier general in command of the 1st Brigade of the Valley District of the Confederate Army of the Potomac.
  • On April 1, 1862, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson arrested Richard Garnett for “neglect of duty” and relieved him of his command for ordering a retreat at the First Battle of Kernstown without Jackson’s authorization.
  • Court-martial proceedings against Richard Garnett lasted only one day (August 6, 1862), and never rendered a verdict.
  • On September 5, 1862, General Robert E. Lee reinstated Richard Garnett and assigned him General James Longstreet’s Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.
  • Richard Garnett commanded the injured George Pickett’s brigade at the Battle of Antietam (September 15, 1862).
  • Richard Garnett assumed permanent command of George Pickett’s brigade on November 26, after Pickett was promoted to divisional commander.
  • Richard Garnett did not take part in the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11–15, 1862), and was not present at the Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30–May 6, 1863).
  • Following Stonewall Jackson’s death at Chancellorsville, Richard Garnett served as a pallbearer at the stricken general’s funeral. Reportedly he had tears of grief running down his cheeks.
  • When General Lee began his second invasion of the North (June 1863), Pickett’s division, which included Richard Garnett’s brigade, served as the army’s rearguard. As a result, Garnett didn’t arrive at Gettysburg until the afternoon of July 2, 1863.
  • Robert E Lee selected Pickett’s division, which included Richard Garnett’s brigade, to take part in the ill-fated assault on Cemetery Ridge on July 3, commonly known as Pickett’s Charge.
  • Richard Garnett was suffering from a fever and an injured leg that prevented him from leading his men on foot during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1862. Instead, he led his men into battle mounted on a horse, making him an easy target.
  • Richard Garnett was mortally wounded, probably by grapeshot, during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1862.
  • Although Richard Garnett was dressed as a Confederate general, his body was never identified after the fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Almost certainly, Richard Garnett was buried in a mass grave that Union soldiers dug for the Confederates who died at the Battle of Gettysburg. In 1872, the remains from that grave were removed to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, presumably Garnett’s final resting place.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Richard Brooke Garnett - Facts
  • Date November 21, 1817 - July 3, 1863
  • Author
  • Keywords Richard Brooke Garnett
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 19, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 12, 2024

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