Civil War Wiki
Lloyd Tilghman
Personal Information
Born: January 26, 1816(1816-01-26)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: May 16, 1863 (aged 47)
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 Henry
- Battle of Champion Hill
Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Lloyd Tilghman (January 26, 1816–May 16, 1863) was a railroad construction engineer and a Confederate general in the American Civil War, killed at the Battle of Champion Hill. He is best known for his inept defense of Fort Henry, Tennessee, in 1862.

Early life[]

Tilghman was born in "Rich Neck Manor", Claiborne, Maryland to James Tilghman, the son of Revolutionary War Lieutenant Colonel Tench Tilghman, and Ann C. Shoemaker Tilghman. He attended the United States Military Academy and graduated near the bottom of his class in 1836. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons, but resigned his commission after three months. He worked as a construction engineer on a number of railroads in the South and in Panama, except for a period in which he returned to the Army as a captain in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. Volunteer Artillery (August 1847 to July 1848). In 1852, he took up residence in Paducah, Kentucky.

Civil War[]

Shortly after the start of the Civil War, Tilghman was commissioned Colonel of the 3rd Kentucky Infantry on July 5, 1861. He was promoted to brigadier general in the Confederate States Army on October 18. When General Albert Sidney Johnston was looking for an officer to create defensive positions on the vulnerable Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, somehow Tilghman's presence in his department was unknown to him and another officer was selected. However, the Richmond government pointed out Tilghman's engineering background and he was finally chosen for the task. The original sites for Forts Henry and Donelson were selected by another general, Daniel S. Donelson, but Tilghman was then placed in command and ordered to construct them. The geographic placement of Fort Henry was extremely poor, sited on a floodplain of the Tennessee River, but Tilghman did not object to its location until it was too late. (Afterwards, he wrote bitterly in his report that Fort Henry was in a "wretched military position. ... The history of military engineering records no parallel to this case.") And he also was desultory in managing the needed construction for it and the small Fort Heiman, located on the Kentucky bank of the Tennessee, and quarreled with the engineers assigned to the task. He did manage to do a more credible job on the construction of Fort Donelson, which was sited on dry ground, commanding the river.

On February 6, 1862, an army under Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and gunboats under Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote attacked Fort Henry and Tilghman was forced to surrender. (This was not his first encounter with Grant. Tilghman was in Paducah when Grant captured that city the previous September.) Prior to doing so, he led the vast majority of his garrison troops on the 12-mile road to Fort Donelson, and then returned to surrender with a handful of artillerymen who were left defending the fort. The biggest factor in the defeat of Fort Henry was not the naval artillery or Grant's infantry; it was the rising flood waters of the Tennessee, which flooded the powder magazines and forced a number of the guns out of action. (If Grant's attack had been delayed by two days, the battle would have never occurred because the fort was by then entirely underwater.) Tilghman was imprisoned as a prisoner of war at Fort Warren in Boston and was not released until August 15, when he was exchanged for Union General John F. Reynolds. Tilghman is remembered for his bravery and gallantry in surrendering with his men, but he was derelict in his duty by abandoning the command of his garrison, which was responsible for the defense of both Henry and Donelson. (He was replaced by Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd at Donelson, whose army fought gallantly under poor leadership and was surrendered to Grant on February 16.)

Returning to the field in the fall of 1862, Tilghman became a brigade commander in Mansfield Lovell's division of Earl Van Dorn's Army of the West, following the Second Battle of Corinth. In the Vicksburg Campaign of 1863, he was hit in the chest by a shell fragment and killed in the Battle of Champion Hill. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, New York City.

In memoriam[]

Paducah Tilghman High School in Paducah, Kentucky, is named in honor of General Tilghman's wife (Augusta Tilghman). The Lloyd Tilghman House and Civil War Museum is set up at the Tilghman homestead in Paducah.

See also[]

  • Kentucky in the American Civil War


  • Bush, Bryan S., Lloyd Tilghman: Confederate General in the Western Theatre, Acclaim Press, 2006, ISBN 0-9773198-4-9.
  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Gott, Kendall D., Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry—Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862, Stackpole books, 2003, ISBN 0-8117-0049-6.
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, Louisiana State University Press, 1959, ISBN 0-8071-0823-5.

External links[]

da:Lloyd Tilghman