James Bankhead (1783 - 1856)

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About James Bankhead

US Army General. He joined the Army in 1808 as a Captain in the 5th Infantry, entering the service on the same day as Winfield Scott, with whom he remained lifelong friends. He served in various command and staff assignments prior to the War of 1812. During the war he was promoted to Major, served on the staff of General Wade Hampton, and received a brevet promotion to Lieutenant Colonel as a reward for his efficiency and superior service.

In 1832 he was promoted to permanent Lieutenant Colonel in the 3rd Artillery Regiment. Bankhead received a brevet promotion to Colonel in 1838 to recognize his bravery in Florida during the Seminole Campaign.

He served heroically in the Mexican War, was promoted to brevet Brigadier General for distinguished service at Vera Cruz while commanding the 2nd Artillery Regiment, and commanded the Department of Orizaba, Mexico. Upon returning to the United States in 1848 Bankhead was appointed commander of the US Army's Department of the East with headquarters at Ft. McHenry, where he served until his death.

One son, Smith Pyne served as a Confederate general during the Civil War. Another, John Pyne was a Captain in the Union Navy who commanded the USS Monitor. A third, Henry Clay was a Union Brigadier General. In addition, James Bankhead was the uncle of Confederate General John B. Magruder.