Illustration of Milledge Luke Bonham

Brig. Gen. Milledge Luke Bonham (1813-1890) was a South Carolinian by birth and came from a military family. He fought in the Seminole War and as an officer in the Mexican War, then commanded the South Carolina Militia as a major general. He was a U.S. Congressman from 1857 to 1860 and governor of South Carolina from 1862 to 1864. An ardent secessionist, when the Civil War broke out he was appointed a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. On May 21, 1861, Gen. Robert E. Lee gave him command of the “Alexandria Line”, a task he executed poorly. On May 24th, Union forces invaded northern Virginia and captured Arlington Heights and Alexandria without a fight. Bonham later commanded a brigade at the Battle of First Manassas and then returned to politics in his home state of South Carolina.

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