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John McCausland, Jr.
Personal Information
Born: September 13, 1836(1836-09-13)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: January 22, 1927 (aged 90)
Place of Death: {{{place of death}}}
Birth Name: {{{birth name}}}
Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
Confederate States of America
Participation(s): {{{participations}}}
Branch: Confederate States Army
Service Years: {{{service years}}}
Rank: Brigadier General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Battles: American Civil War
- Battle of Fort Donelson
- Valley Campaigns of 1864
- Siege of Petersburg
- Battle of Five Forks
- Appomattox Campaign
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

John McCausland, Jr. (September 13, 1836 – January 22, 1927) was a brigadier general in the Confederate States Army, famous for the ransom of Hagerstown, Maryland, and the razing of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War.

Early life[]

McCausland was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of an immigrant from Ireland. He graduated with first honors in the class of 1858 at the Virginia Military Institute, and subsequently acted as assistant professor of mathematics in that institution until 1861. In 1859 he was present with a group of VMI cadets at the execution of John Brown at Charles Town.

Civil War[]

Immediately after the start of the Civil War, McCausland recruited the 36th Virginia Infantry Regiment using volunteers from Rockbridge County and was commissioned its colonel on July 16, 1861. He served in the brigade of Brigadier General John B. Floyd in western Virginia and was transferred with his regiment to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to serve in Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's army. He fought at the Battle of Fort Donelson and escaped with his command before it surrendered in February 1862. For the remainder of 1862 and 1863 he fought in the Department of Southwest Virginia.

McCausland was promoted to brigadier general on May 18, 1864, and served as a cavalry brigade commander in the Valley Campaigns of 1864, under Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early, raiding into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Under Gen. Early's orders, on July 30, 1864, McCausland burned the town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in retaliation for the destruction of private property by Union Army Maj. Gen. David Hunter in the Shenandoah Valley, including the burning of the Virginia Military Institute. After the failure of Early's campaign, McCausland rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia in the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of Five Forks, and the Appomattox Campaign. He escaped with his cavalry from Appomattox Court House before Robert E. Lee's surrender, but disbanded his unit soon after. He was paroled in Charleston, West Virginia, on May 22, 1865.


After the war, McCausland spent two years in Europe and Mexico before returning to the United States. For the burning of Chambersburg he faced arson charges, but was pardoned by President Ulysses S. Grant. He acquired a tract of 6,000 acres (24 km²) in Mason County, West Virginia, where he lived as a farmer for more than 60 years.

McCausland died at his farm, "McCausland", in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the last Confederate general to die.[1] He is buried in Henderson, West Virginia.

See also[]



  1. Eicher, pp. 371, 609. Felix Huston Robertson is often cited as the longest surviving general, dying on April 20, 1928, but his nomination for brigadier general was rejected by the Confederate Senate in February 1865.

External links[]