Gen. William B. Bate (CSA), Gov, US Senator

Is your surname Bate?

Research the Bate family

Gen. William B. Bate (CSA), Gov, US Senator's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


William Brimage Bate

Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: Bledsoe's Lick, TN, USA
Death: March 9, 1905 (78)
Washington, DC, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of James Henry Bate, Sr. and Amanda Patience Bate
Husband of Julia Bate
Father of Mary Irby Mastin; Amanda Rebella Bate; Suzanne Childs; Jennie Masten Bate and Effie M Bate
Brother of Humphrey P. Bate; James Henry Bate, Jr.; Elizabeth Patience Tyree and William Brimage Bate

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Gen. William B. Bate (CSA), Gov, US Senator

William Brimage Bate (October 7, 1826 – March 9, 1905) was the Governor of Tennessee from 1883 to 1887 and subsequently a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1887 until his death. He served in the Confederate forces in the American Civil War, attaining the rank of major general and commanding a division in the Army of Tennessee.

Early life and career

William Bate was born in Bledsoe's Lick (now Castalian Springs, Tennessee). He was a clerk for a steamboat company and edited a newspaper. He served in the Mexican War (1846–48) as a first lieutenant in the 3rd Tennessee Volunteer Infantry.

He served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1849 to 1851. He graduated from law school in Lebanon, Tennessee in 1852 and was admitted to the bar in that year, establishing his practice in Gallatin, Tennessee. He became district attorney general for the Nashville district in 1854.

Civil War

Following the passage of Tennessee's ordinance of secession and the outbreak of the Civil War, Bate became the colonel of the 2nd Tennessee Infantry. He first saw combat action in July 1861 at the First Battle of Manassas in the reserve brigade of Theophilus Holmes in the Confederate Army of the Potomac.

Returning to the Western Theater later in 1861, Bate led the 2nd Tennessee in the Army of Mississippi at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. He was wounded severely in the leg during the first day's fighting, and an Army surgeon told him it would be necessary to amputate his leg to save his life. Bate drew his pistol, threatening to shoot the surgeon, and kept his leg. Although he survived, he was incapacitated for several months, and walked with a limp the rest of his life. He was promoted to brigadier general on October 2, 1862, subsequently commanded a brigade of infantry in numerous battles and campaigns of the Army of Tennessee, including the Tullahoma Campaign and the Battle of Chickamauga.

He distinguished himself in the Chattanooga Campaign and was rewarded with a promotion to major general to rank from February 24, 1864. That summer, he commanded a division in the Atlanta Campaign. He commanded his division assigned to Hardees Corps CSA in the battles around Atlanta in July and August 1864. At the Battle of Utoy Creek, Georgia, he was attached to Lt. Gen. Steven D. Lee's Corps, CSA, and used a deception plan that foiled the main Union attack. His division received a citation for defending the attack of Schofield's XXIII Army Corps, USA and Palmer's XIV Army Corps, USA, on Aug 5-6, 1864. He was wounded in a skirmish at Willis' Grist Mill at South Utoy Creek on 10 August 1864, near the Sandtown Road (now Cascade Road SW, near Willis Mill Road and what is now Adams Park in Atlanta), then treated at Utoy Church, which was serving as a field hospital for said battle, and finally recuperated in Barnesville, Georgia, until rejoining the army in October 1864 at the time of the Confederate invasion of Tennessee. He participated in the 1865 Carolinas Campaign. Bate and his men surrendered at Bennett Place near Greensboro, North Carolina. During the war, he was wounded three times and had six horses shot from beneath him.

Postbellum career

After the defeat of the Confederacy in 1865, Bate returned to the practice of law; as was the case of many prominent ex-Confederates, full civil rights were eventually restored to him. He was elected governor as a Democrat in 1882 over the incumbent Republican, Alvin Hawkins, and re-elected in 1884 and is credited with having found a satisfactory solution to the debt problems of the state.

His subsequent four elections to the U.S. Senate were by the Tennessee General Assembly, the method of choosing U.S. Senators prior to the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1887, 1893, 1899, and 1905, one of only three Tennessee senators to be elected to more than three terms and one of two prior to the adoption of popular election to the office. As a Senator, he served as the chairman of the Committee on the Improvement of the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries in the 53rd Congress and the chairman of the Committee on Public Health and the National Quarantine in two later Congresses.

He died only five days into his fourth term, in Washington, D.C.. His funeral was held in the Senate chamber of the United States Capitol, and he is buried in Nashville's Mount Olivet Cemetery.

Senator from Tennessee; born near Castalian Springs, Sumner County, Tenn., October 7, 1826; completed an academic course of study; served as a private in Louisiana and Tennessee regiments throughout the Mexican War; member, State house of representatives 1849-1851; graduated from the law department of Lebanon University, Lebanon, Tenn., in 1852; admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Gallatin, Tenn.; elected attorney general for the Nashville district in 1854; during the Civil War served in the Confederate army, attained the rank of major general, surrendered with the Army of the Tennessee in 1865; after the war returned to Tennessee and resumed the practice of law at Gallatin; elected Governor of Tennessee in 1882 and reelected in 1884; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1887; reelected in 1893, 1899, and again in 1905, and served from March 4, 1887, until his death in Washington, D.C., March 9, 1905; chairman, Committee on the Improvement of the Mississippi River and its Tributaries (Fifty-third Congress), Committee on Military Affairs (Fifty-third Congress), Committee on Public Health and National Quarantine (Fifty-eighth and Fifty-ninth Congresses); funeral services were held in the Chamber of the United States Senate; interment in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, Tenn.

view all

Gen. William B. Bate (CSA), Gov, US Senator's Timeline

October 7, 1826
Age 29
Madison County Alabama, USA
Age 37
Age 42
March 9, 1905
Age 78
Washington, DC, USA