Brig. General Jesse J. Finley (CSA)

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Brig. General Jesse J. Finley (CSA)'s Geni Profile

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Brig. General Jesse Johnson Finley, (CSA)

Birthplace: Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee, United States
Death: November 06, 1904 (91)
Lake City, Columbia County, Florida, United States
Place of Burial: Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Col. Obadiah Gaines Finley and Mary Lewis Finley
Husband of Eliza Hallon Finley; Amanda Catherine Finley and Margaret Harris Finley
Father of Samuel Yerger Finley; Emily Finley; Arthur Finley and Charles Alexander Martin Finley
Brother of Napoleon Finley; William M. Finley; Mary Eliza Finley; Capt. John B. Finley and Foster Gaines Finley

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About Brig. General Jesse J. Finley (CSA)

Finley, Jesse Johnson, senator, born in Wilson County, Tennessee, 18 November 1812. He was educated at Lebanon, Tennessee, and in 1836/7 was captain of a company of mounted volunteers from Tennessee that served in the Seminole war in Florida. On his return he studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1838, and in 1840 removed to Mississippi County, Arkansas, where he was elected to the state senate in 1841. The following year he resigned and went to Memphis, Tennessee, where he practiced law. He was elected mayor in 1845, and after the expiration of his term of office in 1846 removed to Marrianna, Jackson County, Fla. In 1850 he was elected to the state senate, and in 1852 was presidential elector on the Whig ticket. In 1853 he was appointed judge of the western circuit of Florida to fill a vacancy, trod was subsequently elected to the same office for two terms without opposition. He was appointed judge of the Confederate court for the district of Florida in 1861, but resigned in March 1862, and volunteered as a private in the army. He was promoted successively to captain, colonel, and brigadier general. At the close of the war Judge Finley went to Lake City, Fla., and in 1871 removed to Jacksonville in the same state. He was then elected to congress as a Conservative Democrat, and served in 1875-79. In 1880 he was nominated against his wishes and took his seat, but was subsequently unseated by the rival candidate. In March 1887, he was selected by the governor to supply the vacancy in the United States Senate that had been occasioned by the expiration of the term of Charles W. Jones, until a choice could be made by the legislature.

Brigadier-General Jesse Johnson Finley was born in Wilson county, Tenn., on the 18th of November, 1813. He was educated at Lebanon and began the study of law. But about that time the Seminole war began and young Finley, having recruited a company of mounted volunteers, served in the army as captain. Returning home in 1838 he was admitted to the bar. In 1840 he removed to Mississippi county, Ark. The young lawyer, who seems to have been a born leader of men, at once rose to prominence and was elected to the State senate in 1841. The following year he resigned this position and going to Memphis, Tenn., began the practice of law. He was elected mayor of that city in 1845. In 1846 he removed to Marianna, Fla. Here he soon became prominent, and in 1850 was elected to the State senate. In 1852 he was a presidential elector on the Whig ticket, and in 1853 was appointed judge of the west circuit of Florida. When the war began he sided with the Confederate cause, and in 1861 he was made judge of the Confederate court. In March 1862 he resigned this post of honor and entered the army as a private; was soon promoted to a captaincy, and on April 14, 1862, was commissioned as colonel of the Sixth Florida regiment. He was on duty in east Tennessee in Davis' brigade, Heth's division, Kirby Smith's department; took part in the Kentucky campaign and after the return to Knoxville served as president of the court-martial for the department until ordered to Tullahoma. He commanded his regiment in the battle of Chickamauga with distinction. On November 16, 1863, he was commissioned brigadier-general and assigned to command of the Florida infantry in the army of Tennessee, united in a brigade of Bate's division, Hardee's corps. He commanded this gallant brigade at Missionary Ridge, and rendered distinguished service with the rear guard under General Bates. In the May campaign of 1864 he took part until at the battle of Resaca he was severely wounded, causing his disability until after Johnston's army had reached Atlan ta. At Jonesboro in an assault upon the enemy's lines he was again seriously wounded by a fragment of shell, which also killed his horse. He declined to be sent to the rear to take train until all his wounded men were embarked, and narrowly escaped capture through the faithfulness of a driver who took him in a commissary wagon after the last train had left. He was unfit for duty during the subsequent campaigns of General Hood. Soon after the army was ordered to North Carolina, his wound being partially healed, he started to rejoin his brigade; but his progress being interfered with by the Federal movements, he reported to General Cobb at Columbus, and was assigned to duty. When Wilson's Federal troops entered Columbus he made his escape" with General Toombs to Eufaula, and soon afterward hostilities ceased. General Finley then returned to Florida and lived for a time in Lake City. In 1875 he removed to Jacksonville. He served in Congress from 1875 to 1879. In 1879 he was again elected but the seat was contested and given to his opponent. In 1887 he was appointed by Governor Perry to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate until an election could be held, Since the expiration of that service he has lived quietly at his Florida home.

Confederate Military History

Jesse Johnson Finley (November 18, 1812 – November 6, 1904) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Florida and the mayor of Memphis, Tennessee. He was also a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.

Early life

Finley was born near Lebanon, Tennessee. He pursued an academic course. He served as captain of mounted volunteers in the Seminole War in 1836. Finley studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1838. He moved to Mississippi County, Arkansas, in 1840, where he practiced law. Finley served in the State senate in 1841. He moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1842, and continued the practice of law. He served as mayor of Memphis in 1845. He moved to Mariana, Florida, in November 1846 and was elected to the state senate of Florida in 1850.

Finley was a presidential elector on the Whig ticket in 1852. He served as a judge of the western circuit of Florida from 1853 to 1861.

Civil War

With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Finley was appointed judge of the Confederate States court for the district of Florida in 1861. He resigned in March 1862 and volunteered as a private in the 6th Florida Infantry of the Confederate Army, and was successively promoted to be the colonel of the regiment. He took part in the Kentucky Campaign in Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's column, but his first significant combat came at the Battle of Chickamauga, where his regiment captured a battery of Union artillery, but was unsupported and forced to withdraw with 165 casualties. He was promoted to brigadier general on November 8, 1863 (with date of rank of November 16), commanding all of the Florida infantry in the Army of Tennessee. Finley's Brigade, part of Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge's division, was caught up in the Confederate rout at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, but performed well in protecting the rearguard of the army as it withdrew. Army commander Gen. Braxton Bragg expressed his thanks to Finley for "his gallant bearing and prompt assistance in every emergency." Finley's brigade saw heavy fighting in the Atlanta Campaign of 1864. He was badly wounded at Resaca and placed on medical leave until the army reached Atlanta. At the Battle of Jonesborough, his horse was killed by artillery shell fragments, which severely wounded him again, but he refused to be evacuated to Atlanta until all of his wounded men had been taken care of. Finley was unable to return to his brigade for the rest of the war. He tried to reach it in North Carolina after he recovered from a second wound, but Federal troops blocked his way. He surrendered with Maj. Gen. Howell Cobb in Columbus, Georgia, and was paroled in Quincy, Florida, on May 23, 1865.

Postbellum career

Following the war, he settled in Lake City, Florida, in 1865 and resumed the practice of law. He moved to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1871. He successfully contested as a Democrat the election of Josiah T. Walls to the Forty-fourth Congress and served from April 19, 1876, to March 3, 1877. Finley successfully contested the election of Horatio Bisbee, Jr., to the Forty-fifth Congress and served from February 20 to March 3, 1879. He presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Forty-Seventh Congress and served from March 4, 1881, to June 1, 1882, when he was succeeded by Horatio Bisbee, Jr., who contested his election. He presented credentials on December 5, 1887, as a Senator-designate to the United States Senate for the term commencing March 4, 1887, but was not permitted to qualify for the reason that the appointment was made before the vacancy occurred.

Finley died in Lake City, Florida. He was interred in Evergreen Cemetery, Gainesville, Florida.

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Brig. General Jesse J. Finley (CSA)'s Timeline

November 12, 1812
Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee, United States
July 20, 1835
Age 22
Age 33
Age 34
April 22, 1849
Age 36
Marianna, Jackson, Florida, United States
November 6, 1904
Age 91
Lake City, Columbia County, Florida, United States
Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida, United States