Robert Selden Garnett
(1819 - 1861)
Robert Selden Garnett was born on December 16, 1819 in Essex City, Virginia. He was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1841, standing 27th in his class of 52. He served on the frontier, as a tactics instructor at West Point, and Aid de Camp to Wool and Taylor in the Mexican War where he received 2 brevets. He was then West Point commandant, in Indian fighting, and was on a leave of absence in Europe when the war began.
Returning, he resigned from the U.S. Army as a Major on April 30, 1861. He was then assigned to be Adjutant General of Virginia State troops in the C.S.A. He was made Brig. Gen. on June 6, 1861 to command in West Virginia. Near Corrick's Ford, on July 13 1861, he became the first Southern officer and first general on either side to be killed in action. In deference to Garnett's heroism during the Mexican War, a Union honor guard conveyed the body to his family under a truce flag. He was the West Point classmate and cousin of Confederate General Richard B. Garnett who was killed in action at Gettysburg.