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George Gibbs Dibrell

George Gibbs Dibrell (April 12, 1822 – May 9, 1888) was an American lawyer and a five-term member of the United States House of Representatives from the 3rd Congressional District of Tennessee. He also served as a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War and as a railroad executive.


Dibrell was born in Sparta in White County, Tennessee. He attended the public schools and graduated from East Tennessee University in Knoxville in 1843. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1843, and established a legal practice. He also engaged in agricultural and mercantile pursuits, and was elected clerk of the branch of the Bank of Tennessee at Sparta. He was a justice of the peace and a county clerk for White County for many years. Dibrell was a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1861.

He volunteered in the Confederate States Army and served from 1861 to 1865. He rose from private in the 25th Tennessee Infantry to lieutenant colonel of that regiment in August 1861. He fought in the Mill Springs campaign and at the Siege of Corinth. Dibrell later organized the White County "Partisan Rangers," raised the 8th Tennessee Cavalry, and served as its first colonel. Commanding a brigade, he played a prominent role in the defense of the important saltworks during the Battle of Saltville. He served under noted cavalry generals Nathan Bedford Forrest and Joseph Wheeler.


General Dibrell

Dibrell was promoted to brigadier general in early 1865 and commanded a division under Wheeler during the Carolinas Campaign and its climatic Battle of Bentonville. Dibrell accompanied the flight of the Confederate government following the evacuation and fall of Richmond in April 1865, having charge of protecting the national archives of the Confederacy and escorting President Jefferson Davis from Greensboro, North Carolina into Georgia. Dibrell was finally captured and paroled near Washington, Georgia, on May 9, 1865.

Dibrell was President of the Southwestern Railroad in 1869. He was a delegate to the Tennessee state constitutional convention in 1870. He was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-fourth and the four succeeding Congresses. He served from March 4, 1875 to March 3, 1885. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1884 and resumed agriculture and business pursuits, including the development of several coal mines. He died in Sparta, Tennessee, and was interred in Old Sparta Cemetery.

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