|Grave of Gen. William Wing Loring - St. Augustine, Florida
|Copyright 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: November 7, 2014
Maj. Gen. William Loring, CSA
"Old Blizzards" defeated Grant's
first attempt to capture Vicksburg,
Mississippi, at the Battle of Fort
Loring as a General of Egypt
On the recommendation of Gen.
William Tecumseh Sherman,
Loring served 10 years in the
GRAVE OF GEN. WILLIAM LORING
St. Augustine, Florida
|Gen. William Loring Monument
The general's grave is on the rear lawn of
Government House in St. Augustine, Florida.
Florida's Soldier of Three Nations
Major General William Wing Loring was one
of the most remarkable soldiers and military
leaders of the 19th century.
The General's list of accomplishments is
impressive. He was the youngest man ever
promoted to colonel in the U.S. Army, was a
major general of the Confederacy, and was
the only American ever to command Egyptian
forces in battle. He held a law degree from
Georgetown and was an author and scholar.
His grave is on the rear lawn of Government
House in St. Augustine, Florida, one block
west of the Plaza de la Constitucion at the
intersection of Cordova and King Streets.
William Wing Loring was born in Wilmington,
North Carolina, on December 4, 1818. His
family moved to St. Augustine when he was
still a young boy and he is remembered as
one of Florida's most distinguished veterans.
Determined to serve his state, he enlisted in
the 11th Regiment of the 2nd Brigade of
Florida Militia when he was only 14. The
militia was the forerunner of today's Florida
National Guard and the men of the 11th were
citizen-soldiers from St. Johns County.
Loring was 17 years old when news reached
St. Augustine in 1836 of the fall of the Alamo
in San Antonio, Texas. Like thousands of
other Americans, he was stunned by the
news and moved to action by the words of Lt.
Col. William B. Travis who had called for help
from "all Americans in the world."
Leaving home, he headed for Texas to join
the army of Gen. Sam Houston. Loring's
father objected, however, and prevailed on
his son to return to Florida. He was back in
St. Augustine when the Second Seminole
War erupted that winter and was elected the
second lieutenant of his company in 1837.
As the war dragged on, Loring left home to
study law at Georgetown. He interned under
Rep. David Levy Yulee (Florida's delegate to
Congress during the Territorial era) and was
admitted to the Florida Bar in 1842.
Loring was elected to the Florida territorial
legislature and practiced law in St Augustine.
He ran unsuccessfully for state senate in
1845, the same year that Florida became a
state of the Union.
He continued his service with the state militia
but, like other Floridians, also did required
duty with the patrol in his home county. The
patrol watched for violations of laws
regulating the activities of African American
slaves while also serving as posses for local
justices of the peace.
Loring was doing duty with the patrol on the
night of August 20, 1845, when he became
involved in a dispute with Brig. Gen. William
Jennings Worth of the U.S. Army. The exact
details of the incident are murky, but Loring
swore out a warrant for Worth's arrest on
charges of assault and battery.
The matter was resolved to the satisfaction of
all parties, but Loring's willingness to file
charges against a high ranking army officer
says much about his code of honor.
Learning of the planned organization of a
new regiment of mounted riflemen, he used
influence to obtain a commission and joined
the regular U.S. Army in 1846. The United
States soon entered the Mexican-American
War and Loring served with his regiment in
Gen. Winfield T. Scott's drive on Mexico City.
Wounded at the Battle of Churubusco, Loring
was breveted for courage and went on to fight
in the battles for control of Mexico City. He
was present at the storming of Chapultepec
and lost an arm in the fighting.
It was during this campaign that Loring
cultivated the friendship of the men who later
played a remarkable roles in his life, Ulysses
S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman.
Loring achieved additional note in 1849
when he led the rifle regiment overland to the
Pacific Northwest in what was the longest
march by a U.S. Army unit to that date. He
also fought against the Apache in New
Mexico and served under Col. Albert Sidney
Johnston in the non-shooting Mormon War of
the late 1850.
That Loring was a rising star in the U.S. Army
was evidenced in 1856 when he became the
youngest officer ever promoted to full colonel.
He was only 38-years old.
Colonel Loring traveled overseas in
1859-1860 to study European battlefield
tactics. He was back on the frontier
commanding the Department of New Mexico
when the South fired on Fort Sumter.
Resigning his post on May 13, 1861, Loring
was commissioned a brigadier general in
the Confederate army just seven days later.
As his prior military service had suggested,
William Wing Loring was a fighting general.
After serving (and arguing) with Stonewall
Jackson in 1861-1862, he was promoted to
major general and ordered to Mississippi.
It was there, during the Yazoo Pass
Expedition of 1863, that he earned his
nickname of "Old Blizzards."
General Ulysses S. Grant was trying to take
Vicksburg by using the Yazoo River to flank
the city's powerful Mississippi River batteries.
Loring was ordered to stop him. As Grant
made his way up the Yazoo with ironclads,
gunboats, transports and more than 5,000
men, General Loring obstructed the river as
well as he could and used earth and cotton
bales to built Fort Pemberton just west of
There, as Union ironclads attacked two
abreast on March 11, 1863, Loring leaped
atop a cotton bale yelling for his men to "Give
them blizzards, Boys! Give them blizzards!"
Grant was driven back and his old friend's
battlefield heroics were celebrated across
Grant soon came again, but Loring's division
was cut off from the main Confederate army
at the Battle of Champion's Hill on May 16,
1863. This allowed him to avoid being
trapped in Vicksburg, which surrendered on
July 4. Instead he fought at the Battle of
Jackson under General Joseph E. Johnston.
"Old Blizzards" commanded a division of
Polk's Corps during the Atlanta Campaign
and was wounded at the Battle of Ezra
Church on July 28, 1864. He recovered well
enough to take part in Hood's disastrous
Franklin and Nashville Campaign that winter.
He was part of the last major offensive by a
Confederate army at the Battle of Bentonville,
North Carolina, on March 19-21, 1865. His
division engaged in heavy fighting there
when Johnston sent the Army of Tennessee
on one final grand assault. The attempt to
stop Sherman's march through the Carolinas
ended in failure.
General Loring and his men were included in
the surrender completed at Bennett Place,
North Carolina, on April 26, 1865.
Four years later, the Khedive of Egypt asked
General William Tecumseh Sherman for
recommendations of American officers that
might be willing to help train and lead his
army. Sherman recommended Loring and in
1869 he became a general in the service of
Egypt. He served the Khedive for the next ten
years, overseeing coastal defenses and
even escorting President Grant on his visit to
the Middle Eastern country.
General Loring resigned from his post in the
Egyptian army after a disastrous campaign in
what is now Ethiopia. Frustration over the
failure of Egyptian officers to follow his
combat and logistical recommendations
finally brought his long and storied military
career to an end.
Returning to the United States, he wrote A
Confederate Soldier in Egypt. The book gave
many Americans their first detailed look at
Islam and life in the Middle East during the
late 19th century.
William Wing Loring died in New York City on
December 30, 1886. After a temporary burial
there, his remains were returned home to St.
Augustine in March 1887.
His funeral was attended by hundreds of
veterans from the Confederate and Union
armies and was one of the largest public
events in the history of the nation's oldest city.
Old soldiers of both armies raised funds for
the beautiful monument that stands over his
Sadly, modern generations seem unable to
follow the example set by the soldiers that
faced each other with courage on the fields of
the War Between the States (or Civil War).
Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet
have ruled that Confederate soldiers like
General Loring are not worthy of inclusion in
the state's Veterans Hall of Fame.
Loring as a soldier of the U.S.
William Wing Loring entered the
Florida Militia at the age of 14
and went on to serve in the U.S.,
Confederate, and Egyptian
Loring's Grave in St. Augustine
Veterans of the Confederate and
Union armies joined together to
place the monument over Gen.
Loring's grave in St. Augustine.
Bennett Place in North Carolina
Gen. Loring's long American
military career ended with the
surrender of the Joe Johnston's
army at Bennett Place in North
Carolina. He later served as an
Egyptian general for ten years.
|Copyright 2015 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: March 23, 2015
Civil War in Florida