Leonidas Polk

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Leonidas Polk as bishop
Leonidas Polk as general

Leonidas Polk (born April 10, 1806 in Raleigh , North Carolina , † June 14, 1864 at Pine Mountain near Marietta , Georgia ), called " The fighting Bishop ", was Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States and took over in the Civil War as a general in the Confederate Army .


President James K. Polk's cousin was a West Point graduate in 1827. He graduated from the academy as the eighth of his class and served until December 1, 1827 as a lieutenant in an artillery unit of the US Army . Bishop Richard Channing Moore ordained Polk a deacon in 1830 and a year later a priest. After his marriage to Frances Ann Deveraux, he served at St. Peters Church in Columbia , Tennessee. In 1841 Polk moved with his family to Louisiana and became a bishop there. In 1856 he was a co-founder of the University of the South at Sewannee , Tennessee.

In 1861, Polk decided to do military service and as major general was in command of Military District 2 under Albert S. Johnston . Polk organized the Mississippi Confederate Army and part of the Tennessee Army , whose I Corps he led as a commanding general with the rank of lieutenant general . With his promotion to Lieutenant General Polk was the second oldest soldier with this rank after James Longstreet , which brought him some weight in the preparation of decisions. Polk took part in the battles of Belmont, Shiloh , Chickamauga and Perryville and was also involved in the Stone's River campaign (see also Battle of the Stones River ). In 1864 he commanded Confederate troops under Joseph E. Johnston in the Sherman attack on Atlanta (see Atlanta Campaign ).

Before the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain , he was fatally wounded by an artillery shell while exploring the terrain. General Sherman mentioned Polk's death in a report to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton , 'We killed Bishop Polk yesterday, and have made good progress to-day ....' (We killed Bishop Polk yesterday and we made good progress today).

Death and family

Polk was buried in St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Augusta. In 1945 his remains were transferred to New Orleans , where he was buried in Christ Church Cathedral. Polk's nephew, Lucius E. Polk served as general and his son William Mecklenburg Polk served as captain in the Confederate army. His other son, Frank Polk, served as a foreign policy advisor in the State Department during World War I and became the first United States Under Secretary of State (the third highest position in the United States Department of State). Fort Polk in Louisiana is named after Leonidas Polk.


  • Glenn Robins: The Bishop of the Old South. The Ministry and Civil War Legacy of Leonidas Polk. Mercer University Press, Macon GA 2006, ISBN 0-88146-038-9 .
  • John H. Eicher & David J. Eicher: Civil War High Commands. Stanford University Press 2001 ( online here ), ISBN 0-8047-3641-3
  • Huston Horn: Leonidas Polk: Warrior Bishop of the Confederacy , Kansas: University Press of Kansas 2019, ISBN 9780700627509 .

Individual evidence

  1. http://www.historynet.com/leonidas-polk-southern-civil-war-general.htm/ Historynet
  2. St. Paul's Church - Gather by the River. St. Paul's Church, archived from the original on February 16, 2017 ; accessed on February 15, 2017 (English, first place of burial).
  3. Robins, p. 1538; Eicher, p. 433.
  4. ^ Frank Lyon Polk . In: New York Times , February 7, 1943. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 

Web links