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 His service with the United States army was rendered first in barracks at Newport, Ky., and then until 1855 in New Mexico. He became second lieutenant, Sixth infantry, in 1855, and first lieutenant in 1857, and in the latter year was appointed aide-de-camp to Governor Walker of Kansas. After assisting in quelling the disturbances in that State, he served upon the staff of General Clarke, at San Francisco, three years. The secession of Virginia called him from frontier duty at Fort Churchill, Nev., to offer his services to his native State. He received at first a commission as captain of infantry in the regular army of the Confederate States. Subsequently he was promoted lieutenant-colonel of the Fortieth Virginia infantry regiment, Field's brigade. At Gaines' Mill he was twice wounded, and was mentioned by General Field as ‘a gallant and meritorious officer,’ and by Gen. A. P. Hill as one of those deserving especial mention for conspicuous gallantry. In July, 1863, after having been in charge of a convalescent camp, he was promoted brigadier-general and assigned to the command of his old brigade, which had meanwhile been under the leadership for some time of Gen. Henry Heth and Colonel Brockenbrough. He served creditably as a brigade commander in the battles of Bristoe Station and Mine Run, in the latter affair his brigade being the first infantry to meet the enemy and check his advance. In December he was ordered to the Shenandoah valley to reinforce Early, and was recalled from that region in March, 1864, to the main army. He did good and brave service through the bloody battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court House, until severely wounded on May 10, 1864. On November 10th he was assigned to duty as a member of the general court-martial of the department of Richmond, and his brigade, much reduced, was consolidated with Archer's.
Brigadier-General James A. Walker, now living in Wytheville, Va., is the son of Alexander Walker and Hannah Hinton, whose ancestors were among the early Scotch-Irish settlers of the valley of Virginia. He was born in Augusta county on the 27th of August, 1832. After receiving the best elementary education that the schools of the neighborhood afforded, he entered the fourth class at the Virginia military institute in 1848.
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