Carnot Posey, a planter, lawyer, and Confederate brigadier general, was born on 5 August 1818 in Woodville, Wilkinson County. Posey attended college in Jackson, Louisiana, before studying at the University of Virginia Law School in the 1830s. He completed his legal training and returned to Woodville, where he established a law practice and worked as a planter. When the Mexican War broke out in 1846 Posey joined Col. Jefferson Davis’s Mississippi Rifles as a first lieutenant; his leadership potential and character were recognized after he received a wound at the Battle of Buena Vista in February 1847.
After the Mexican War, Posey resumed his law practice. Under Pres. James Buchanan’s administration Posey was appointed US district attorney for the southern half of Mississippi, and he served until 1861, when he resigned with Mississippi’s secession. Following the formation of the Confederacy, Davis reappointed Posey as district attorney, but he again resigned to support the Confederate war effort.
In late May 1861 Posey officially entered Confederate service in Corinth as colonel of the 16th Mississippi Infantry, where his former militia company, the Wilkinson Rifles, joined nine other Mississippi state militia companies to create a new Confederate regiment. Throughout 1861–62 he served at the head of the 16th Mississippi as part of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s army during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign as well as the subsequent Peninsula Campaign (Seven Days’ Battles). Posey also led the 16th Mississippi under Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia during the Battles of Second Manassas, Harpers Ferry, and Sharpsburg. His actions in the Sharpsburg Campaign earned him a promotion to brigadier general effective 1 November 1862. Following the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 he received command of a brigade of Mississippians and distinguished himself at the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg while serving under James Longstreet’s 1st Corps and Ambrose P. Hill’s 3rd Corps. Following the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg and subsequent retreat into Virginia, Posey suffered a serious wound to the thigh at the Battle of Bristoe Station on 14 October 1863. The wound became infected, and he died on 13 November 1863 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
- Edwin B. Coddington, The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command (1968)
- Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee’s Lieutenants (1943)
- “Genealogical Notes and Queries,” William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine (July 1897, July 1934)
- Stephen W. Sears, The Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam (1983)