CS Exe {⋆★⋆} BG Breckinridge, John C. - C.S. Secretary of War

John Cabell Breckinridge
Confederate States Secretary of War

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Born: January 16, 1821

Birthplace: Cabell's Dale Plantation near Lexington Kentucky

Father: Joseph Cabell Breckinridge 1788 – 1823
(Buried: Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky)​

Mother: Mary Clay Smith 1787 – 1864
(Buried: Not Known)​

Wife: Mary Cyrene Burch 1826 – 1907
(Buried: Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky)​


John Cabell Breckinridge​
(Buried: Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky)​
Clifton Rodes Breckinridge 1846 – 1932
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(Buried: Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky)​
Frances Viley Breckinridge Steele 1848 – 1924​
(Buried: Triangle Public Cemetery, Triangle, Virginia)​
John Witherspoon Breckinridge 1850 – 1892​
(Buried: Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky)​
Mary Breckinridge Maltby 1854 – 1928​
(Buried: Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky)​



1839: Graduated from Centre College​
Studied law at Transylvania University​

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Attorney in Lexington, Kentucky​
1847 – 1848: Major of 3rd Kentucky Infantry in Mexican War​
1849 – 1851: Kentucky State Representative​
1851 – 1855: United States Representative from Kentucky​
1857 – 1861: Vice President of the United States​
1860: Unsuccessful Democratic Presidential Candidate​
1861: United States Senator from Kentucky​
1861: Expelled from the United States Senate by resolution​

Civil War Career:

1861 – 1862: Brigadier General of Confederate Army Infantry
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1862: Wounded during the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee​
1862 – 1865: Major General of Confederate Army Infantry​
1862: Independent Commander in in the lower Mississippi Valley​
1862: Participated in the Battle of Baton Rogue, Louisiana​
1862 – 1863: Participated in the Battle of Stones River​
1863: Participated in the Battle of Chickamuga​
1863: Served in the defense of Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga​
1864: Participated in the Battle of New Market, Virginia​
1864: Participated in the Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia​
1864: Participated in the Raid of Washington, D.C.
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1864: Participated in the Battle of Monocacy, Virginia​
1864 – 1865: Commander of Forces in Southwestern Virginia​
1864: Led a raid into northeastern Tennessee​
1865: Confederate States Secretary of War​

Occupation after War:

1865: Lived in Cuba, England and Canada​
1865 – 1869: Lived in the United Kingdom​
1869: Granted Amnesty by the United States Government​
1869: Attorney in Lexington, Kentucky​
1869 – 1875: Vice President of Elizabethtown, Lexington Railroad

Died: May 17, 1875

Place of Death: Lexington, Kentucky

Cause of Death: Pulmonary and Coma

Age at time of Death: 54 years old

Burial Place: Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, Kentucky
Last edited by a moderator:

Buckeye Bill

Forum Host
Annual Winner
Jul 29, 2013
His statue near the family plot at the Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky.


Paul Yancey

Jan 13, 2019
Being a Kentuckian myself, I've always had a special interest in Breckinridge. Like many others, he and Bragg did not get along. He never forgave Bragg for ordering the Orphan Brigade into a bloody assault at Murfreesboro that had little to no hope of success. After the failed attack, as Breckinridge was riding along his lines to see what damage had been done he was heard to exclaim "My poor Orphans! My poor Orphan Brigade! They have cut it to pieces!"


2nd Lieutenant
Mar 6, 2010
Charlotte, NC
One thing historians can be glad for related to Breckinridge was his ordering the departments of the War Department to make an assessment of their condition in February, 1865. These reports (in the OR) record the feelings of the War Department senior staff just before the final campaign and recorded statistics we would never have been able to put together at this date (ie results of the blockade runners and capabilities of the various branches).