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Barton, Seth Maxwell - Brig. Gen
Brigadier-General Seth Maxwell Barton was one of four sons of Thomas Bowerbank Barton, a lawyer of Fredericksburg, Va., all of whom served in the Confederate States army. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1849, and promoted brevet second lieutenant, Third infantry. After serving a year at Fort Columbus, N. Y., he was promoted second lieutenant, First infantry, and assigned to duty in the Southwest, where he served mainly until 1861, winning promotion to first lieutenant in 1853 and captain in 1857. He was stationed during most of this period at the Texas forts, was adjutant of his regiment, 1855 to 1857, fought against the Comanche Indians in 1857, and in 1861 participated in the march to Fort Leavenworth. After his resignation, which took effect June 11, 1861, he entered the Confederate service, with the rank of captain of infantry, C. S. A., and became lieutenant-colonel of the Third Arkansas regiment, Col. Albert Rust, which constituted part of the command of Gen. Henry R. Jackson, in the West Virginia campaign of 1861. He fortified Camp Bartow, on the Greenbrier, and in command of his regiment participated in the heroic defense of the works in October, at which the enemy met with his first repulse in that region. He subsequently acted as chief engineer of the army during the Bath and Romney expedition, winning special mention by Stonewall Jackson. When Gen. E. Kirby Smith was assigned to the department of East Tennessee, Barton was sent to his assistance, with promotion to brigadier-general. During the Cumberland Gap campaign he commanded the Fourth brigade, consisting of Alabama and Georgia regiments and Anderson's Virginia battery. Subsequently, with Stevenson's division, he took part in the defense of Vicksburg. At the time of Sherman's advance by way of Chickasaw bayou late in December, 1862, he commanded the Confederate center, his troops bravely holding their ground under a severe fire of musketry and artillery, which continued for three days, and repulsing five assaults on the 29th. The siege of Vicksburg followed, and he was surrendered July 4, 1863, but soon afterward exchanged. He was then given command of Armistead's brigade, Pickett's division; was stationed at Kinston, N. C., during the latter part of the year, and was the leader of one of the columns in the demonstration against New Bern about February 1, 1864. On May 10th he participated in the battle of Drewry's Bluff, against Butler, fighting bravely in the midst of his men, and being the first to take possession of the guns from which the enemy were driven. Immediately after this he was relieved from command by Gen. Robert Ransom. His restoration was petitioned for twice by the regimental officers of the brigade, who expressed entire confidence in his skill and bravery. General Ransom himself admitted that the personal gallantry of General Barton could not be questioned. Though feeling that injustice had been done him, he remained in the service, and accepted command of a brigade for the defense of Richmond, comprising artillery and reserve infantry, under Lieutenant-General Ewell. He served at Chaffin's farm until the evacuation of Richmond, and then joined in the retreat of Custis Lee's command, as far as Sailor's creek, where he was captured April 6, 1865. Since the war General Barton has made his home at Fredericksburg, Va.
Confederate Military History, Vol. III