Portrait of Roswell S. Ripley

Roswell Ripley was one of six generals in the Confederate Army who was born in Ohio. [Wikimedia Commons]

Roswell Sabine Ripley - Facts

March 14, 1823 - March 29, 1887

Roswell Sabine Ripley was a Confederate brigadier general, who served with the Department of South Carolina and the Army of Northern Virginia..


Full Name:

  • Roswell Sabine Ripley

Birth Date:

  • March 14, 1823

Birth Location:

  • Worthington, Ohio


  • Christopher and Julia Ripley


  • United States Military Academy (1843)


  • Military officer

Career Summary:

  • Captain (USA)
  • Brevet Major (USA)
  • Brigadier General (CSA)


  • Alicia Middleton (1852)

Place of Death:

  • New York, New York

Date of Death:

  • March 29, 1887

Place of Burial:

  • Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina


  • In 1839, at the age of sixteen, Roswell Ripley received an appointment to the United States Military Academy.
  • Among Roswell Ripley’s classmates at the United States Military Academy was Ulysses S. Grant, future commander of all Union forces during the latter part of the American Civil War.
  • Roswell Ripley graduated from the United States Military Academy on July 1, 1843, ranking 7th out of 39 cadets.
  • After graduating from the United States Military Academy, Roswell Ripley was assigned to the 3rd U.S. Artillery as a brevet second lieutenant.
  • Like many West Point graduates of his era, Roswell Ripley served in the Mexican-American War (1846 – 48).
  • Roswell Ripley was promoted to second lieutenant on March 26, 1846.
  • On March 3, 1847, Roswell Ripley was promoted to first lieutenant.
  • Roswell Ripley received brevet promotions to captain (April 18, 1847) and major (September 13, 1847) for gallantry while serving in Mexico.
  • Following the Mexican-American War, Roswell Ripley returned to garrison duty and served in Florida during the ongoing campaign against the Seminole Indians.
  • In 1849 Roswell Ripley published The War with Mexico, published a two-volume account of the recent war.
  • On December 22, 1852, Roswell Ripley married Charleston resident Alicia Middleton.
  • Roswell Ripley resigned from the army (March 2, 1853)
  • Roswell Ripley a major in the South Carolina militia when his adopted home state seceded from the Union (December 20, 1860).
  • After South Carolina seceded from the Union, Governor Francis W. Pickens promoted Roswell Ripley to lieutenant colonel in the South Carolina militia.
  • Roswell Ripley participated in the bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 13, 1861, touching off the Civil War.
  • August 15, 1861, Roswell Ripley was commissioned as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army and assigned command of the Department of South Carolina and its coastal defenses.
  • During his tenure with the Confederate Army Roswell Ripley developed a reputation as a competent, yet headstrong, officer who engendered bad relationships with superior officers including Robert E. Lee, John C. Pemberton, P. G. T. Beauregard, and Sam Jones.
  • In 1862, Roswell Ripley was transferred to Virginia where he served as commander of the Fifth Brigade of Major General D. H. Hill’s division, in the Army of Northern Virginia.
  • Roswell Ripley participated in the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines Mill, and Malvern Hill during Union General George McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign.
  • During General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North, Roswell Ripley performed poorly during the Battle of South Mountain (September 14, 1862).
  • Roswell Ripley was severely wounded in the neck during the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862).
  • In 1863, at Governor Pickens’s request, Roswell Ripley returned to command the First Military District in South Carolina.
  • On April 7, 1863, Roswell Ripley’s troops repelled a Union naval assault on Charleston Harbor.
  • In 1864, rumors emerged alleging that Roswell Ripley’s past command decisions had been affected by alcoholism. An investigation determined that there was insufficient evidence to convene a court-martial.
  • Roswell Ripley was transferred to Charlotte, North Carolina on February 20, 1865, where he joined General Joseph Johnston’s army and participated in the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Bentonville (March 19, 1865–21, 1865), the last major conflict of the Civil War.
  • Following the Civil War, Roswell Ripley traveled to Great Britain, where he lived for nearly twenty years.
  • In 1885, Roswell Ripley returned to the United States and established a residency in New York.
  • On March 29, 1887, Roswell Ripley suffered a massive stroke and died.
  • Roswell Ripley was one of six generals in the Confederate Army who was born in Ohio.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Roswell Sabine Ripley - Facts
  • Coverage March 14, 1823 - March 29, 1887
  • Author
  • Keywords roswell ripley
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 30, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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