Brigadier-General James Ronald Chalmers was born in Halifax county, Virginia, January 11, 1831. His father
was Joseph W. Chalmers, who, having moved to Mississippi when James was a lad, settled at Holly Springs and
became United States senator.
The son was prepared for the South Carolina college at Columbia, where he was graduated in 1851, and returning
to Holly Springs studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1853. He was district attorney in 1858, and in
1861 was a delegate to the convention which passed the ordinance of secession. Being, like his father, an
ardent State rights Democrat, he gave his vote in favor of secession.
He entered the Confederate army as colonel of the Ninth Mississippi regiment of infantry in 1861, and for
a while commanded at Pensacola, Florida. On February 13, 1862, he became a brigadier-general in the Confederate
army, and on April 6th was assigned to the command of the Second brigade of division, army of the Mississippi.
He and his command did splendid fighting in the battle of Shiloh. When Bragg was conducting operations in
north Mississippi he sent Chalmers with a force of cavalry to make a feint upon Rienzi in order to cover the
movement of a body of infantry to Ripley, Miss.
In executing this order Chalmers encountered Sheridan, July 1st, and a stubborn engagement took place. It
lasted from about half-past eight in the morning till late in the afternoon. Chalmers, ascertaining that
Sheridan had been reinforced by infantry and artillery, retired.
When Bragg advanced into Kentucky in the summer of 1862 Chalmers' command was a part of his force, performing
its duties with courage and zeal. In the battle of Murfreesboro he and his men again rendered brilliant service.
In April, 1863, General Chalmers was placed in command of the military district of Mississippi and East Louisiana.
In 1864 he was assigned to the command of the cavalry brigades of Jeffrey Forrest and McCulloch, forming the
First division of Forrest's cavalry. This division was subsequently enlarged by the addition of Rucker's brigade.
General Chalmers bore a conspicuous part in the battle of Fort Pillow and in all the brilliant campaigns of Forrest
in north Mississippi, west Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as in the Tennessee campaign of Hood.
February 18, 1865, he was put in command of all the Mississippi cavalry in the Confederate service in
Mississippi and west Tennessee.
After the war General Chalmers was quite prominent in the politics of Mississippi. He was elected to the
State Senate in 1875 and 1876, and in 1876 as a representative of his district to the Congress of the United
States, serving in the Forty- fifth and Forty-sixth Congresses.
He received the certificate of election to the Forty-seventh Congress, but his seat was successfully contested
by John R.Lynch. He was elected to the Forty-eighth Congress, and held his seat in spite of a contest.
He also claimed election to the Fifty-first Congress, but on a contest the seat was given to his opponent.
After that time he devoted himself to the practice of law.
His home was at Vicksburg, Miss., until his death in April, 1898. - #JS1068=$450.00