Confederate General from Union
This is the home of John Echols, lawyer and general in the Confederate army. A graduate of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, he also attended the Virginia Military Institute and Harvard University.
After John Brown's failed Harpers Ferry Raid in 1859, Echols formed a militia company designated the Monroe Guards. Two years later, it was incorporated into the 27th Virginia Infantry as Co. D. Lt. Col. Echols served as the regiment's commander. Severely wounded at the First Battle of Kernstown in March 1862 he convalesced and then was promoted to brigadier general. Echols was active in the occupation of the Kanawha Valley and then placed in command of the entire Department of Western Virginia. Echols commanded the Confederate forces at Droop Mountain on November 6, 1863, where he was defeated by a Union army larger than his. This marked the end of all practical armed Confederate resistance in West Virginia. When Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant broke the Siege of Petersburg in April 1865 and forced Gen. Robert E. Lee to retreat westward, Echols rushed with 7,000 men to join Lee. Learning of Lee's surrender at Appomattox, Echols then tried to join with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army in North Carolina, but Johnston also surrendered. Echols accompanied Confederate President Jefferson Davis to Georgia in his flight from Richmond until Davis's capture in Georgia. Echols subsequently settled in Staunton, Virginia, practiced law, helped develop the region's mineral resources, and served in the Virginia House of Delegates (1877-1880).
The Monroe Guards left Union on May 13, 1861, with 108 men. At the First Battle of Manassas the regiment served in Gen. Thomas J. Jackson's brigade and suffered heavily in the defensive line that earned Jackson the nickname "Stonewall." Capt. Hugh Tiffany and five other Guards were killed, and eleven were wounded. After the battle, Jackson chose Pvt. Michael A. Foster to receive a wreath of flowers from the women of Lexington for the brigade's bravery. Gen. Robert E. Lee called him the brigade's "bravest and most efficient soldier." Foster was severely wounded during the Siege of Petersburg in 1864, left for dead on the field, and captured. The Monroe Guards fought in more than 70 engagements in every major campaign of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. When the regiment surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, only 21 men were present, just two of whom were Monroe Guards.