n Albemarle county, Virginia.
He was the oldest son of Benjamin H. Magruder and Maria Minor, daughter of Dr. James Minor, and great-grandson of Garrett Minor, of Sunning Hill, who was a member of the Committee of Safety in 1775 for Louisa county, and represented it in the Legislature in 1793.
The family removed to Glenmore, about seven miles from Charlottesville, Va., when John was five years old. He first attended private schools in the neighborhood; went to Colonel John Bowie Strange's Albemarle Military Academy, at Charlottesville, one session, then matriculated at the University of Virginia in 1856, and took the degree of Master of Arts in June, 1860.
He was a teacher in Nelson's Academy, in Culpeper county, at the outbreak of the Confederate war, which position he at once relinquished and went to the Virginia Military Institute to take a two months course in military tactics.
On his return home, he organized a military company, called the Rivanna Guards; was elected and com