Brigadier General William N. R. Beall

Brigadier General William Nelson Rector Beall (1825-1883) was the commander of all Confederate Army forces at Port Hudson from around 1 September 1862 until General Franklin Gardner assumed command in late December, 1862.  He then was placed in command of the left of the Confederate defenses, and at the time of the May 27th battle, he was in command of the defenses in the center of the line which included the Priest Cap.

Beall was born in Bardstown, Kentucky on 20 March 1825.  His parents moved from Kentucky to Arkansas where Beall was raised.  He was an 1844 graduate of the United States Military Academy.

After graduating, Beall served in the United States Army. He was first assigned as a brevet second lieutenant with the Fourth Infantry and served on the northwestern frontier. In 1849 he was promoted to second lieutenant and assigned to the Fifth Infantry.  He served until 1855 in the Indian Territory and Texas.  He was promoted to first lieutenant and then shortly thereafter to captain with the First Cavalry.

Beall was involved in several skirmishes, combats, and expeditions against the Indian tribes in the west.  In 1860, he participated in a raid against the Kiowa and Comanche.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Beall resigned his commission and was appointed as a Captain of cavalry in the Confederate Army.  He served in the Trans-Mississippi Department under General Earl Van Dorn early in the war, and was appointed Brigadier General in the spring of 1862.  On April 23, 1962, General Beall was placed in command of the Confederate cavalry forces at Corinth, Mississippi.

Around the 1st of September, 1862, Beall was placed in command of the Confederate forces at Port Hudson, and although General Frank Gardner subsequently assumed chief command, General Beall and his brigade continued to be important factors in the gallant defense of the post until its surrender.  On July 9th the post was surrendered, and the men were then paroled, and some of them, including General Beall, were never exchanged.  General Beall was first imprisoned on Johnsonís Island Prison Camp in Ohio.

In 1864 Beall was appointed as a Confederate agent for the purpose of supplying Confederate prisoners of war and paroled for this purpose.  Beall established an office in New York, New York and sold cotton allowed through the Union blockade of southern ports.  The proceeds of these sales were used to purchase clothing and blankets for Confederate prisoners in northern prison camps.

Beall was released on 2 August 1865. He moved to St. Louis, Missouri and engaged in business as a general commission merchant.

General Beall died on 26 July 1883 in McMinnville, Tennessee, and is buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.


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