Daniel Smith Donelson (1801 - 1863)

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Birthplace: Sumner, Tennessee, United States
Death: Died in Knoxville, Knox, Tennessee, United States
Cause of death: chronic diarrhea
Occupation: Maj. Gen. (CSA) in Civil War
Managed by: Eli Wolfhagen
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About Daniel Smith Donelson


Daniel Smith Donelson (June 23, 1801 – April 17, 1863) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War.

One of the three sons of Samuel and Mary Donelson, Daniel Smith Donelson was born in Sumner County, Tennessee. His older brother was Andrew Jackson Donelson, named after their uncle, President Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson Donelson was the private secretary to Jackson during his presidency and a vice presidential candidate in his own right.

In 1821, Donelson entered West Point, and graduated in 1825, becoming an United States Army officer. He resigned his commission only half a year later, on January 22, 1826, to become a planter in Sumner County. He was also a member of the militia in Tennessee, starting as a brigade major in 1827 and being promoted to brigadier general in 1829.

In 1834, Donelson resigned his commission in the Tennessee militia and moved to Florida, again working as a planter. His stay there was brief, however, and he moved back to Tennessee two years later, still a planter. In 1841, Donelson became a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives. He left after one two-year term, but returned twelve years later, in 1855, this time rising to the office of Speaker.

With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Donelson volunteered for the Tennessee militia, leaving behind both of his careers as a planter and as Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. He was returned to his previous rank of brigadier general in the militia and that May approved the location of Fort Donelson, which was named in his honor. After Tennessee joined the Confederacy, he became a brigadier general in the Confederate Army on July 9, 1861. In the following two years, Donelson was active in several campaigns, leading the initial assault at the Battle of Perryville, fighting at the Battle of Stones River, and eventually rising to command of the Department of East Tennessee.

Donelson was promoted to major general on April 22, 1863 (to rank from January 17); his appointment and confirmation happened prior to knowledge of his death, which had occurred a week earlier. He died of chronic diarrhea in Montvale Springs, near Knoxville, Tennessee. He was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Hendersonville, Tennessee.


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Maj. Gen. Daniel S. Donelson (CSA)'s Timeline

June 23, 1801
Sumner, Tennessee, United States
Age 29
February 19, 1835
Age 33
Age 34
Age 38
Age 43
February 19, 1847
Age 45
October 18, 1848
Age 47
November, 1850
Age 49
April 17, 1863
Age 61
Knoxville, Knox, Tennessee, United States