Nov 8, 2018
Disease and illness have struck down many promising young men in their prime, and with a war on this scale and with so many troops concentrated into encampments, it was all pervasive. More men died of disease than on the battlefield. This was not limited to the enlisted men; many officers and even generals were cut down by this unbiased foe. One such general was John B. Villepige.

Villepige was born 2nd July, 1830, in Camden, South Carolina. He was admitted to the Citadel Academy, but left for West Point. He graduated in 1854 and became a 2nd Lt. in the 2nd Dragoons. He resign 31st March, 1861, to join the Confederacy.
He was first a captain of artillery, but was rapidly promoted Colonel in command of the 36th Georgia Infantry Regiment (Later 1st Georgia Confederate). He was in command of Fort McRee, guarding Confederate-held Pensacola Harbor, during the bombardment of 22nd November, 1861. According to Braxton Bragg, then commanding Confederate Troops at the City, believed it to be the heaviest bombardment by number of cannon in the world up to that point. Though wounded by shrapnel, Villepigue continued to lead his men in holding the fort. Afterwards, he would be commended by Bragg, made a Brigadier General and posted to Bragg's staff as Ordnance Chief. He then was assigned the defense of Fort Pillow, between Island #10 and Memphis. After Island #10 fell, Villepigue realized his position was untenable; he withdrew from the fort, leaving behind 19 cannon.
He led a brigade of Mississippians under Lovell at Second Corinth. He served with distinction in this engagement and the retreat. However, the ardors of the campaign took its toll on the young general. He was transferred to Port Hudson to take command of the defenses, and was expected to be promoted to Major General. Sadly, soon after his arrival, he died of pneumonia, on the 9th of November, 1862. He was only 32.
He was buried in the Old Quaker Cemetary in his hometown of Camden. Here too is buried his descendant, World War 1 soldier and Medal of Honor recipient John Cantey Villepigue. Buried here too are Generals Joseph Kershaw and John Doby Kennedy, as well as Mayre's Heights hero Richard Rowland Kirkland, all from the same county.

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