Carter L. Stevenson

Portrait of Carter L. Stevenson
Wikimedia Commons
TitleMajor General
War & AffiliationCivil War / Confederate
Date of Birth - DeathSeptemer 17, 1817 - August 15, 1888

Carter L. Stevenson was born to a prominent family in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and gained an appointment at West Point, where he graduated in 1838. Stevenson was a second lieutenant in the 5th United States Infantry and was sent to Florida, where he fought in the Second and Third Seminole War from 1840-1858. 

At the start of the Civil War, Stevenson joined the Confederate cause and was appointed colonel of the 53rd Virginia Infantry. In the winter of 1861-1862, Stevenson was promoted to brigadier general and sent to the Department of East Tennessee. After arriving, he was sent to bolster the troop numbers in the Cumberland Gap and command the post. During the 1862 Cumberland Gap Campaign, Stevenson held the Gap until, in the June of 1862, he was ordered by Gen. E. Kirby Smith, the department commander, to fall back from the Gap to better aid the city of Chattanooga. In the late fall of 1862, Stevenson’s division joined Kirby Smith in his invasion of Kentucky, starting the Kentucky Heartland Campaign. Smith, not wanting a large Federal force to his rear, tasked Stevenson with besieging the 8,000-man garrison at Cumberland Gap, under the command of Gen. George W. Morgan, until it was captured on September 18th. Not wanting to launch an assault on the Gaps’ defenses, Stevenson instead resorted to starving Morgan’s division. By mid-September, Morgan’s division was forced to retreat from the Gap. Stevenson retook the Gap on September 18th, 1862. Despite leaving men to garrison the Gap, Stevenson’s men missed the Battle of Perryville and, during the winter of 1862, were reassigned, along with his division to Vicksburg, Mississippi. 

During the summer of 1863, Stevenson and his division fought heavily in the Vicksburg Campaign, seeing heavy action at Champion Hill on May 16th, 1863, and covered the Confederate retreat to Vicksburg. During the Siege of Vicksburg, Stevenson commanded the entire right wing of the Confederate defenses. After the surrender of Vicksburg and a subsequent parol, Stevenson joined the Army of Tennessee at Chattanooga. During the Battles for Chattanooga, Stevenson saw action in the Battle of Lookout Mountain, where his division failed to stop Union Joseph Hooker from taking the mountain. After the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Stevenson was sent to Eastern Tennessee, where he defeated a portion of Ambrose E. Burnside’s army in the Battle of Philadelphia in October 1863. During the Atlanta Campaign, Stevenson saw action at Resaca, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, and Atlanta. In the 1864 Tennessee campaign, Stevenson saw action at Nashville and, during the last year of the war, saw action in the Campaign in the Carolinas. After the war, Stevenson was a civil and mining engineer in Caroline County, Virginia, where he passed away in 1888. 


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Related Battles

Hinds County, MS | May 16, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Estimated Casualties