Rufus Clay Barringer
Son of Paul M. Barringer and Elizabeth Barringer
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About Brig. General Rufus Barringer (CSA)
Rufus Clay Barringer (December 2, 1821 – February 3, 1895) was a North Carolina lawyer, politician, and American Civil War brigadier general.
Barringer was born in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, the ninth of ten children of Elizabeth Brandon and Paul Barringer. His brother Victor Clay Barringer was also an officer in the Confederate States Army. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1842. He studied law in Concord with his older brother, Daniel Moreau Barringer, who would enjoy a successful law practice and serve two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Entering politics as a Whig, Rufus Barringer represented Cabarrus County in the House of Commons in the North Carolina General Assembly from 1848 until 1850. A Unionist in his political views, he represented his district as an elector during the 1860 presidential election.
First two marriages
Barringer's first wife, Eugenia Morrison Barringer, died of typhoid fever in 1858, four years after their marriage. They had two children, Paul and Anna. Two of Eugenia's sisters also married future Civil War generals, Stonewall Jackson and D. H. Hill. In 1861, Barringer remarried, this time to Rosalie Chunn of Asheville, who bore him a son, Rufus Clay Barringer, Jr. Rosalie died in 1864.
When North Carolina seceded from the Union in May 1861, Barringers first loyalty was to his state, even though he'd been opposed to secession. He raised a company of 100 horsemen, the "Cabarrus Rangers," who were designated as Company F of the 1st North Carolina Cavalry with Barringer as their captain. The regiment performed picket and scouting duty under J.E.B. Stuart during the Peninsula Campaign, the Seven Days Battles, Second Manassas and the Maryland Campaign in 1862. Barringer led his company during the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign, where he was severely wounded in the face at the Battle of Brandy Station, an injury that took five months for his recovery. He was promoted to major for his gallantry and served in the Bristoe Campaign. During the winter, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned temporary command of the 4th North Carolina Cavalry.
Barringer was promoted to brigadier general on June 6, 1864, and assigned command of North Carolina's cavalry brigade until his capture during the Battle of Namozine Church in Virginia on April 3, 1865. After a brief interview with President Abraham Lincoln behind Union lines at City Point, Virginia, he was sent to Fort Delaware as a prisoner of war. Lincoln, a personal friend and former Congressional colleague of Barringer's brother, provided a note to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton asking for special treatment for Barringer in captivity. Unfortunately, Lincoln's favor backfired. After his assassination, Barringer fell under suspicion due to his brief meeting with Lincoln less than two weeks prior. He was repeatedly questioned regarding any role he may have played in the conspiracy. He wasn't released from custody until late July, months after most other Confederate prisoners had been freed. During the war, he had fought in seventy-six engagements and had suffered three separate wounds.
Barringer returned to North Carolina in August and established a law practice in Charlotte. He also owned a tenant farm and helped expand the state's railroad system. He again married in 1870, taking Miss Margaret Long of Orange County, North Carolina, as his third wife. They had one son, Osmond L. (1878–1961). Barringer was a delegate to the 1875 North Carolina Constitutional Convention. He unsuccessfully ran for lieutenant governor in 1880 as a Republican, losing to James L. Robinson. He retired from his law practice in 1884 and became a writer, authoring a history of the 9th North Carolina Cavalry.
His grave site is in the Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte.