(The following are the personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be completely documented)
BORN: 1823 in Lynchburg, VA.
DIED: 1896 in Staunton, VA.
CAMPAIGNS: First Bull Run, Shenandoah Valley, Kernstown,
Droop Mountain, New Market and Cold Harbor.
HIGHEST RANK ACHIEVED: Brigadier General.
|John Echols was born in Lynchburg, Virginia,
on March 20, 1823. After graduating from Washington College in Virginia, he
studied law at Harvard, and was admitted to the bar. He served as
commonwealth attorney, and as a Virginia state legislator.
Echols was a physically imposing man, at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 260 pounds. When Virginia seceded from the Union, Echols worked to recruit volunteers in western Virginia. Appointed lieutenant colonel of the 27th Virginia, he led his regiment in the First Battle of Bull Run, joining four other Virginia regiments in winning fame as the "Stonewall Brigade."
Echols took part in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, and was seriously wounded at Kernstown in March of 1862. On April 16, while recuperating, he was commissioned a brigadier general. He took over a brigade in the Army of Western Virginia, then became commander of the Army of Southwest Virginia.
In the summer of 1863, he served on the court of inquiry to examine the July surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi. His troops were defeated at Droop Mountain in November of 1863. After serving under Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge at the Battle of Newmarket, he and his brigade went east and fought at Cold Harbor.
He took command of the District of Southwest Virginia, then took over Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early's position as commander of the Department of Western Virginia. On his way to east to join with Gen. Robert E. Lee's army, he found out about the surrender at Appomattox. Marching to North Carolina, he joined Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army, then surrendered in Augusta, Georgia.
After the Civil War, Echols went back to his legal practice. He became a wealthy lawyer and businessman, involved in banking and railroads. Echols died on May 24, 1896, in Staunton, Virginia.
Echols was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, and was educated at the Virginia Military Institute, Washington College and Harvard College. Entering upon the practice of law at Staunton, he soon attained distinction. A tall imposing man, standing 6 feet 4 inches tall, Echols quickly became a leader among his peers. He played a prominent part in the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861, and then offered his service to the state's army. Commissioned as a lieutenant colonel, he was ordered by General Robert E. Lee to call out and muster in the volunteer forces in the vicinity of Staunton for Joseph E. Johnston's fledgling army.
Echols was then assigned command of the 27th Virginia
Infantry, leading the regiment in the fighting at the First Battle of
Manassas under Stonewall Jackson. He was soon promoted to colonel, serving
in the Valley Campaign. He was severely wounded on March 23, disabling him
for several weeks. Echols was promoted to brigadier general on April 16,
during his convalescence. Later in the year, he was assigned to command a
brigade of the army of Western Virginia. He participated as a brigade commander
in William W. Loring's occupation of the Kanawha Valley in September. After
Loring withdrew to the mountains, Echols replaced him in command of the
Department of Western Virginia. He promptly reoccupied Charleston, but was
forced to retreat by a superior enemy force.
After the war, Echols resumed his Staunton law practice and was a member of the Virginia General Assembly. He helped select the members of the Committee of Nine, a group of state leaders who worked to ensure that the state be readmitted into the Union. He became President of the Staunton National Valley Bank, and Receiver and General Manager of the Chesapeake, Ohio & Southwestern Railroad, living in Kentucky the last ten years of his life as he managed the railroad's affairs.
Sign located at the intersection of Route 219 and Route 3
It reads: "Gen. Echols was born March 20, 1823 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He entered the Confederate Army from his home in Union. With rank of Lieut. Col., Echols commanded the 27th Virginia Brigade, Staunton Infantry, at Manassas and was severely wonded at Kernstown. He was commissioned Brig. Gen. on April 16, 1862. His later service was mostly in West Virginia. He died May 24, 1896 and was buried in Staunton."
A letter sent to Major Wm. McLaughlin by Brig. Gen.John Echols
I hope to be a the Narrows on next Monday. I wish that you would ask Col. Wharton if he cannot help me in some way to get home, either by ambulance or some other safe way. Bowyer has just come in and we are just going down to try t get your (cloth?). He will leave here on Saturday night and if nothing happens will be in Dublin on Sunday. It is forever now snowing hard and very cold. I wish that you could see that I can get the quarters where you are, if you should be ordered away, or stay with you when I report for duty, which will be in a very few days.
No news except what you will see in the papers,
In haste very truly yours
(Wm. Mc Laughln was a lawyer too, served with John Echols as his Chief of Artillery)
Contact Dr. Arbittier or Dr. Echols
Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016