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Henry Gray

Pvt., Col., Brigadier General

 

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Battle Flag
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18th Regiment Louisiana Infantry

...Flag design is based on a small torn section of the regimental battle flag which is on display in the Confederate Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana. May 19, 1865. When the 18th Regiment was disbanded the flag was torn into ten pieces and a piece given to each of the ten company commanders. (Placement of Battle Inscriptions is specualtive and based on similar Confederate battle flags of the same period.)

IMAGE of Henry Gray

Henry Gray, Pvt., Col., Brigadier General

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Henry Gray

Pvt., Col., Brigadier General

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~ Military Record ~

Gray, H.,Col. F and S, 28th (Gray's) La. Inf. Roll for June 30 to Aug. 31, 1863 (only Roll on file), En. May 14, 1862. Camp Taylor.

~ Biography ~

HENRY GRAY 1 was born in Laurens District, South Carolina, January 19, 1816, and was graduated from South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) in 1834. Admitted to the bar, he shortly settled in Mississippi, where he was for some years district attorney of Winston County. After serving a term in the legislature, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress on the Whig ticket. He moved to Louisiana in 1851, and was a Buchanan Elector in 1856. While a member of the Louisiana legislature in 1860, he was defeated for a seat in the United States Senate by but one vote; his opponent was Judah P. Benjamin. Upon the secession of Mississippi, Gray enlisted as a private in a regiment from that state; however, President Davis (an intimate friend) recalled him from this duty, and he was elected colonel of the 28th Louisiana Infantry, which he had organized at Davis' request. Gray led his regiment at Mansfield and Pleasant Hill during the Red River campaign, and was at times in brigade command. He was promoted brigadier general, March 17, 1865, while he was representing North Louisiana in the Confederate Congress, an office to which he had been elected in his absence and without his knowledge. After serving a post-bellum term in the Louisiana state senate, General Gray retired from public life, thereafter remaining in virtual seclusion until his death at Coushatta, Louisiana, December 11, 1892. He is buried there in Springville Cemetery.

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The following is an additional biography by Silas T. Grisamore,
who served with Henry Gray and adds a measure of the "personal touch"
to the life and times of one of Louisiana's "Generals in Gray".

~ Biography ~

HENRY GRAY2...Gen. Henry Gray, of the C. S. A., died a few days ago, at the house of his daughter in Coushatta on Red River.

The deceased was in his earlier years a remarkable man. Born in South Carolina at manhood he removed to Mississippi and was the contemporary and close friend of Jefferson Davis and Sergeant S. Prentiss. He occupied during his residence in that state, a prominent position as an orator, politician, and lawyer.

Later on, he removed to Bienville Parish in Louisiana and very quickly established himself at the head of the bar and on the political arena in north Louisiana that was , at that date, noted for its lawyers and orators. In the contest for United States Senator [1860], he was beaten by the great Judah P. Benjamin by only one vote.

At the beginning of the war, he joined the Confederate forces as a private in a Mississippi regiment but on reaching Virginia he was ordered by his friend, President Davis, to return to Louisiana and organize a regiment of infantry.

He did so and became colonel of the 28th Louisiana Infantry, which did effective service in the Trans-Mississippi Department In 1862 it was attached to and formed part of Mouton's brigade, with the 18th Louisiana Regiment composed of companies raised in Lafourche, New Orleans, and the Opelousas countries. On the death of Gen. Mouton at Mansfield, previously promoted to the command of his own and Polignac's s brigades, Col. Gray was promoted to brigadier general and given the coommand of his brigade.

Gen. Gray was not famous for his expertness as a commander of troops but was brave and fearless as a lion and distinguished himself for boldness and fearlessness in the bloody charge of his brigade at Mansfield, in which the commanders of each of his regiments were killed&emdash; Armant of the 18th; Beard, Clack, and Canfield of the Crescent; and Walker of the 28th.

After the war, the general has been living a very quiet life. The loss of an only son, who died in 1864, and that of his wife subsequently weighed heavy on the old man's mind and removed from him all the charms of life.

The general was small in stature and not prepossessing in appearance, and when mounted on his famous big horse, Cesar, the "boys" used to call him "baby on a monument." Shortly after the battle of Mansfield, the writer asked him "if he did not think that the Yankees would get him during the fight;" the reply was that "he was afraid that they might get Cesar."

He was averse to everything in the way of display and always grumbled when he was required to make his appearance in full uniform.

He was social, kind, careful of his soldiers , attentive to their wants, and possessed of a keen, black eye that would dance when he got his anger aroused. In 1864 , he was elected a member of the Conefederste Congress and left the army when his command encamped at Camden, Arkansas.

The general was 76 years of age at his death.

He is buried in the valley of the Red River, which he loved so dearly and where he will rest until the resurrection do come.

Louisiana has produced many great men, but few have possessed more of the elements of greatness than Henry Gray. It required one to know him closely and intimately as did the writer to understand and appreciate the noble qualities and generous attributes of the man and to learn the varied talents and wonderful knowledge that was treasured in his mind.

1 Information and photograph reprinted from:
Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders
© Copyright 1959, 1987
by Dorothy P. Warner by Ezra J. Warner
Published by: Louisiana State University Press
Baton Rouge and London
p. 115

2 Information reprinted from:
Reminscences of Uncle Silas:
A History of the Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry Regiment.

© Copyright 1981
Edited by Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr.
Published by: LeComite' des Archives de la Louisiane
P. O. Box 44370, Baton Rouge, La. 70804
pp. 209-211


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