Colonel 5th South Carolina Infantry
He also commanded the elite Palmetto Sharpshooters
Wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines, Virginia in 1862
Wounded in the Second Battle of Manassas, Virginia in 1862
Mortally wounded at the Wilderness, Virginia in May 1864
(1835-64) Born on Edisto Island, South Carolina, he graduated at the head of his class in 1854, at the South Carolina Military Academy, now The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. He founded King's Mountain Military School at York, S.C., in 1855, and served as a teacher and administrator until the winter of 1860-61. He married Caroline Jameson in 1856, and his father-in-law was David F. Jameson, who was the president of the South Carolina Secession Convention in December of 1860. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union, and on April 12, 1861, Confederate forces bombarded Fort Sumter and the War Between the States commenced. Jameson also served as Secretary of War for the state of South Carolina during the conflict. An enthusiastic supporter of states rights, he helped raise and organize the 5th South Carolina Infantry, and on June 4, 1861, he was elected their colonel. Ordered north, the regiment departed from Orangeburg, S.C., and arrived at Manassas Junction, Virginia on June 21st. Assigned to the brigade of General David R. Jones, Jenkins led his South Carolinian's into their first battle, crossing McLean's Ford, and attacking the Federal left near Little Rocky Run, in what became the First Battle of Manassas, Va. earning the praise of their commanding general. During the 1862 reorganization of the Confederate army, Jenkins recruited and organized the elite Palmetto Sharpshooters which included a good portion of the officers and men who had served under him in the 5th South Carolina Infantry. Assigned to General Richard H. Anderson's South Carolina Brigade, Jenkins and his sharpshooters reinforced the Confederate line at Yorktown and Williamsburg, Va. When General Anderson rose to division command, Jenkins was placed in command of the South Carolina Brigade which he led with distinction in the Battle of Seven Pines where he was wounded. It became a bitter slugging match against Union General Darius N. Couch's 4th Corps. Colonel Jenkins broke the Union lines and reached Seven Pines where he captured the colors of the 16th Michigan infantry. His gallant actions and heroism brought with them the high praise of General James Longstreet himself calling attention to the bravery and skill of Jenkins. He was promoted to brigadier general, on July 22, 1862, at the age of 26, becoming one of the great "boy generals of the Civil War." He was wounded in the shoulder and chest at the Second Battle of Manassas, Va. in August 1862. He was next assigned to serve in the division of General George E. Pickett, and was with him at Fredericksburg, but they saw little action there. General Pickett's division then participated in the 1863 Suffolk, Va. campaign under General Longstreet. Jenkins' Brigade was detached from Pickett's division in the summer of 1863, and assigned to protect Richmond where they were stationed during the Gettysburg campaign. In September 1863, General Jenkins was ordered to join the division of General John Bell Hood, and accompany General Longstreet's troops to northwest Georgia to reinforce General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. General Hood was so severely wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga that it resulted in the amputation of his right leg, and Jenkins was elevated to division command to replace Hood. Bragg's army occupied Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, forcing the defeated Union army back into Chattanooga. Jenkins served with Longstreet in East Tennessee in November and through the winter of 1863-64. He was highly commended by General Longstreet for his vigorous pursuit of the Yankees from Lenoir Station to Knoxville, Tenn. where Jenkins troops participated in the siege of Knoxville, Tennessee, in November and December 1864, and in the engagement at Bean's Station, on December 14th. As the Federals pursued Longstreet's troops he hit them hard and stopped them in their tracks ending their pursuit and the winter campaign. With the arrival of cold weather, General Jenkins brought his brigade into winter quarters at Russellville, Tennessee. During this period he led them to a very decisive victory at Kimbrough's Crossroads, Tennessee, on January 16, 1864, when they clashed with Federal cavalry in a very sharp battle. In the spring of 1864, Jenkins joined his commanding officer, General James Longstreet who was ordered to return east to rejoin General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, reaching Gordonsville, Va., on May 2nd. Within 48 hours of their arrival, the Army of the Potomac, crossed the Rapidan River, and entered into the tangled devilish woodlands known as the Wilderness. In the late afternoon on the fateful day of May 4th, General Micah Jenkins turned his brigade out for the very last time! At noon on May 6th, General Longstreet called on Jenkins South Carolina boys to exploit the success gained by the Confederates devastating flank attack on General Winfield S. Hancock's 2nd Corps. As the two Confederate generals rode eastward down the Orange Plank Road, Jenkins remarked to Longstreet, "I am happy. I have felt despair of the cause for some months, but am relieved and feel assured that we will put the enemy back across the Rapidan before night." In only a few minutes, the crash of musketry sounded in the dense woods, and both Generals' Jenkins and Longstreet were thrown from their horses, and sprawled out upon the sacred soil of "Old Virginia." Longstreet was critically wounded, but Jenkins took a minie' ball to the head, the bullet lodging in his brain. As he lay there mortally wounded. delirium set in as he ordered his men forward. Jenkins was dead before nightfall that day. What made matters even worse was that the horror of Chancellorsville, almost a year earlier to the day, when General Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded by friendly fire, was repeated. This tragic event took place only 4 miles from where Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded! The musketry that felled Generals' Jenkins and Longstreet, was fired by some of General William Mahone's Virginians who were in the woods just south of the road and mistook the mounted Confederate officers for Yankee cavalry. Jenkins was buried in Magnolia Cemetery, in Charleston, South Carolina.
Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 1/2 x 4, thick pink blockade run card stock, with no back mark which is typical of these cards which were oftentimes smuggled into the Confederacy, usually through Cuba, from England on blockade runner ships. This is an incredibly rare 3/4 seated view of Jenkins wearing his double breasted frock coat with shoulder straps, as he sat for this circa 1861 portrait while Colonel of the 5th South Carolina Infantry Regiment. He poses holding his kepi on his lap which clearly shows his hat wreath insignia and regimental numeral 5 which is reversed indicating that this was printed as a reverse negative. There is a tiny area of black at the upper right corner of the albumen which was printed into the image when it was originally produced. There is some light staining in the background area which does not affect the beauty of the image, and of course its remarkable rarity! Light wear. General Jenkins is lightly inscribed on the card mount below his portrait. In my 46 years in business, and 62 years as a Civil War collector, I have never owned this image, nor have I ever seen one for sale. Until I purchased this carte de visite, the only other one I know of is in the collection of the Library of Congress. Exceedingly rare, and extremely desirable!
WBTS Trivia: General Micah Jenkins's son, Micah John Jenkins was born on July 3, 1857, and he graduated from West Point in 1879. He served in the Spanish American War, as Captain of Troop K, 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, the "Rough Riders," then commanded by Colonel Teddy Roosevelt. He fought with the regiment in Cuba and participated in the attack on San Juan Hill. He was promoted to major of the regiment on August 11, 1898; and was mustered out of the service at Montauk Point, Long Island, New York, in September 1898. He died in Charleston, South Carolina on Oct. 17, 1912.