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Walker, James A., 1832-1901

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1832 - 1901

Historical Note

James Alexander Walker was born in Augusta County, Virginia on August 27, 1832. Walker attended Virginia Military Institute but was expelled just before graduation in 1852 (though he would later be granted an honorary degree). After studying law at the University of Virginia, Walker was admitted to the state bar in 1856, and established a law practice in Newbern (Pulaski County), Virginia. He married Sarah Poage, and the couple would have six children.

At the commencement of the Civil War, Walker entered Confederate service as captain of the Pulaski Guards, later incorporated into the 4th Virginia Infantry as Company C. Walker was soon promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned to the 13th Virginia Infantry and in February 1862 assumed command of the regiment as colonel. Promoted to brigadier general, he commanded the Stonewall Brigade during the Gettysburg Campaign and at the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. After recovering from a serious wound in the latter battle, Walker returned to duty, commanding a division at Petersburg and Appomattox.

Following the war, Walker returned to his Pulaski County law practice and was elected as a Democrat to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1871 and 1872. In 1877, he was elected Virginia's lieutenant governor. Walker joined the Republican Party in 1895 and served two years in Congress, from 1895 to 1899. He lost reelection to William F. Rhea in 1898, and was again defeated by Rhea in 1900. James A. Walker died in Wytheville, Virginia on October 21, 1901.