Hall Chilton was born in Loudon County of
Virginia on Feb. 25, 1815. He graduated 48th in the
57 member class of 1837 of West Point. Posted to a
dragoon unit, he served in Kansas, Texas, and Indian
Territory. "During the Mexican War he won the
brevet of a major at the battle of Buena Vista, where
he carried to safety the wounded Jefferson Davis,
then a colonel of Mississippi volunteers. From 1854
until the Civil War he was a paymaster in Washington,
DC, New York, Michigan [Detroit], and Texas.1
Following Fort Sumter, he resigned his commission and
joined the Confederate Army as an adjutant general
with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served under
his friend, Robert E. Lee until after Gettysburg when
he became inspector general of Lee's army operating
out of Richmond.
In October 1862, he was appointed brigadier general,
but his nomination was at first rejected by the
Confederate Congress. His clashes with some field
commanders, most notably John B. Magruder, were the
cause. He was finally appointed in early 1864.
Whether his appointment was also held up by his role
in the Lost Dispatch is uncertain. The Confederates
would not have known of the Lost Dispatch at the time
of his October 1862 appointment.
His only combat command occurred in May 1864 when he
led a Virginia infantry regiment and cavalry into
battle on the 10th and succeeded in routing a Union
column along the Richmond & Petersburg railroad.
He then returned to his inspector general post where
he remained until the war's end.
Following the war, he became president of a
manufacturing company in Columbus, Georgia. He died
in Columbus on February 18, 1879.
Historical Times Illustrated
Encyclopedia of the Civil War, Patricia L. Faust,
editor, Harper & Row, New York, 1986.
unsung hero status is no better exemplified than by
this extensive and generally well assembled work.
Alarmingly, he is omitted! while a host of
lesser characters are given entries and even though
he is mentioned in numerous entries.
Photo of Robert Hall Chilton from
Library of Congress colorized by Lowell Boileau