BRIGADIER GENERAL WILLIAM FELIX
By far the most noted Brantley Confederate
Officer during the civil war was Brigadier General William Felix Brantley.
We discussed the General in the 2nd and 4th reports.
Brantley began his military career in 1861 as Captain of The
Wigfall Rifles (Company D 15th Mississippi Infantry, later the 29th Infantry).
He was rapidly advanced to the rank of Colonel, and commanded his
regiment at the great battles of Murfreesboro and Chickamauga.
For his part in the fight on Lookout Mountain, he was particularly
commended by Colonel Walthall, the Brigade Commander. At Resaca, Georgia he led a charge on the enemy that was of
notable gallantry and his line three time repulsed the Union assaults.
At the battle of Ezra Church, near Atlanta, General Samuel Benton was
killed and Colonel Brantley took command of the brigade, which he retained with
his promotion to Brigadier- General, to the close of the war.
The General was assassinated at Winona, Mississippi on November 2, 1970.
He is buried at the local Greensboro Cemetery.
General Brantley was born on March 12, 1830 in
Green County, Alabama to William and Marinda (Jolly) Brantley.
His father was the son of Malachi Brantley and Polly Thomas once of
Hancock County, Georgia and previously of Edgecombe and Halifax Counties in
N.C. Wm Felix and at least
three of his brothers were highly educated for their day.
He had began law practice in 1852 at Greensboro, Mississippi.
His three known brothers were: Dr John Ransom Brantley, Arnold J Brantley (Mayor of Winona, Miss), Albert Horton
Brantley (District Attorney). There
is a report of another brother Edmund, who died in a gun dual in Tennessee.
This is not substantiated. He
had only one known sister. She was
Missouri Brantley, who married Josiah Dunn.
This area in Mississippi where this family lived had one of the worst
reputations for violence in that area in that day and time.
Except for Albert, all these brothers died violent deaths.
The general's brother, Dr John Ransom Brantley was killed in Gonzales,
Texas in 1859 by the hand of David Balzell.
On August 16, 1870, his brother Arnold J Brantley, mayor of Winona, was
shot in cold blood, according to reports. The
"Weekly Clarion" stated in November 1970 that it was the General's
attempt to bring to justice the party responsible for the murder of his brother,
that led to his own. None of the
assassins were ever apprehended. Even
his nephew William Dunn, son of his sister Missouri, was shot and killed in
Greensboro, by a man named Story in 1872. The
Clarion article described General Brantley as being possessed of remarkably
sound judgment, a man who allowed no danger to turn him from the right or left
once his mind was made up.
On November 2, 1870, the General was ambushed about
one half mile east of Winona. He had been warned of the dangers of traveling from
Winona to Greensboro. He stated
that he intended to go wherever his business called him.
His grave with his image chiseled in the tombstone
is in the Greensboro, Mississippi Cemetery.
He had married first Cornelia and later Julia.
Of all his children, only one daughter is known to have lived to