Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Finegan becomes a Brigadier General (April 18, 1862)

Gen. Joseph Finegan, CSA
150 years ago today, Joseph Finegan learned that he had been appointed a brigadier general in the Confederate army.

Remembered by those who knew him as the "fighting little Irishman," Finegan was born in County Monaghan, Ireland in 1814. He came to the United States and settled in Florida, where he became a practicing attorney in Fernandina and a partner with David Levy Yulee in the construction of the Florida Railroad during the years before the war. He represented Nassau County at Florida's Secession Convention in 1861 and was commissioned as a colonel in the Confederate service.

After his performance at the Battle of Olustee in February of 1864 he became known to his fellow Floridians as the "Hero of Olustee" and in the last year of the war he served with courage in the Army of Northern Virginia.

On April 18, 1862, however, he issued his first orders as a brigadier general from his headquarters in Tallahassee:

Finegan Monument at Olustee Battlefield
   The undersigned having been appointed brigadier-general in Provisional Army of the Confederate States, and assigned by Special Order, No. 81, from the Secretary of War, to the Department of East and Middle Florida, hereby assumes command of the same.
   The undersigned calls upon officers of all grades to aid him in suppressing the vice of intemperance in the army. Duty to the soldier and the service requires that this should be done at once.
   The medical director and officers of the medical department are hereby required to institute inquiries in reference to the cause of the large percentage of sickness among the troops at present, and these officers are earnestly required to adopt the most efficient measures for the comfort and convenience of the sick soldiers under their charge.
   Capt. J.L. Cross, C.S. Army, is hereby temporarily placed on duty as assistant adjutant general.
   Maj. H.R. Teasdale, brigade quartermaster.
   Maj. A.A. Canova, brigade commissary.
   Capt. T.E. Buckman, temporarily as chief of ordnance.
   Lieut. J.O.A. Gerry, temporarily as mustering officer.
   These officers will be respected and obeyed accordingly in their respective departments.
   By order of -
   Brigadier-General, Commanding.

To learn more about Finegan's signal victory at Olustee, please visit

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