General Birkett Fry

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General Birkett Fry
 

Birkett Davenport Fry  (Confederate)

Biographical data and notes:
- Born Jun 24 1822 in Kanawha County
- Birkett Davenport Fry died on Jan 21 1891

Enlistment:
- Enlisted on May 24 1864 as a General Officer

Promotions:
- Promoted to Brig-Gen (Full, Vol) (date not indicated)
- Promoted to Colonel (Full, Vol) (date not indicated) (13th AL Inf)

Biography:
Brigadier-General Birkett Davenport Fry

Brigadier-General Birkett Davenport Fry was born in Kanawha
County, Va., June 24, 1822. His father was Thornton Fry,
grandson of Col. Joshua Fry, who figured in colonial history.

He was educated at Washington college, Pa., at the Virginia
Military Institute, and at West Point. He did not remain at
West Point to graduate, but studied law, and was admitted to
the bar in 1846.

When ten new regiments were raised for the Mexican war, he was
commissioned a first lieutenant of United States voltigeurs
and foot riflemen, of which Joseph E. Johnston was lieutenant-
colonel. He served as adjutant at Contreras and Churubusco,
and led a company at Molino del Rey and Chapultepec, where he
was mentioned as distinguished.

After the war had ended and the regiment had been disbanded at
Fort McHenry, MD, he, with a party of other young men, went
across the plains to California, where he remained until 1856.
Going then to Nicaragua, he joined Walker's expedition as
colonel and general. He commanded at Granada and defeated the
army of Guatemala.

After the failure of that expedition, he returned to
San
Francisco
, continuing there until the autumn of 1859, when he
went to Alabama and, settling at Tallassee, engaged in cotton
manufacturing until the opening of the civil war.

On July 19, 1861, he was commissioned colonel of the
Thirteenth Alabama infantry. Reporting at once with his
regiment at Richmond, he was ordered to Yorktown, where he
remained until its evacuation. At the battle of Seven Pines
he was wounded in the hand.

After an absence of six weeks, he returned to his regiment and
remained with it until his left arm was shattered, near the
shoulder, at Sharpsburg. The surgeons decided that it would
be necessary to amputate the arm. "What are the chances of my
living without the operation?" "One in three hundred," was the
answer. "Then I will take it," he replied.

He rejoined his command in time for Chancellorsville, where he
led his brigade (Archer's) on the second day. Here he was
again wounded, but did not leave his regiment until
Gettysburg, commanding it or the brigade until that battle.

The Thirteenth Alabama, with Archer's brigade, Heth's
division, was among the first to be engaged in the hard
fighting for position at Gettysburg, July 1st, and after the
capture of General Archer that day he took command of the
brigade, and led it in the second furious assault.

"Colonel Fry judiciously changed his front," said General
Heth, " thus protecting the right flank of the division during
the engagement. This brigade (Archer's), the heroes of
Chancellorsville, fully maintained its hard-won and well-
deserved reputation. "

On July 3rd his brigade was on the right of the division,
under Pettigrew, and was the brigade of direction for the
whole force, being immediately on the left of Pickett's
division. He led it gallantly up Cemetery ridge, under a fire
which melted away his line, until he reached the stone wall,
where he fell, shot through the shoulder and the thigh, and
again became a prisoner of war.

He lay in field hospital six days; then-was taken to the
hospital at Fort McHenry, and in October was sent to the
Federal prison on Johnson's island, in Lake Erie. By a
special exchange he returned to the army in Virginia in March,
1864.

He was ordered to take command of Barton's brigade at Drewry's
bluff, and led it in the battle in which Beauregard drove back
Butler's army. Being sent now to Lee, Gen. A. P. Hill placed
him in command of Archer's and Walker's brigades, and this
force, with some other troops, he led in the second battle of
Cold Harbor, holding the left of the Confederate line.

On May 24, 1864, he had been promoted brigadier-general, and a
few days after the battle of Cold Harbor he was ordered to
Augusta, GA, to command a district embracing parts of
South
Carolina
and Georgia.

This he held until the close of the war. He then went to
Cuba, but in 1868 returned to Alabama and resumed his old
business of cotton manufacturing at Tallassee, in which he
continued until 1876, when he removed to Florida. After
spending some time there he went back to Alabama and resided
in Montgomery, where his wife died.

This estimable lady was Martha A. Micau, born in Augusta, GA,
but living in San Francisco when married. In 1881 General Fry
went to Richmond, Va., and engaged in cotton buying. He was
president of the Marshall manufacturing company of that city
from 1886 until his death, February 5, 1891.

Source: Confederate Military History, vol. VIII, p. 409; General Officers of the Confederate States of America; National Archives

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