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[450] he practiced awhile in Tuscaloosa, and then, going to Mobile, followed the business of a commission merchant, as well as his profession. In 1846 he volunteered as a private for the Mexican war in the company of Capt. W. E. Martin, and at the formation of the regiment in Mobile he was elected colonel. The government, however, did not need the services of the regiment, and only a portion of it got as far as New Orleans. He was, however, reappointed to the United States army, as lieutenant-colonel of the Thirteenth infantry, April 9, 1847, and was promoted to colonel of the Ninth infantry September 13th. At the close of the Mexican war he resigned and returned to mercantile pursuits. In 1855 he was a member of the legislature, and the next year mayor of Mobile, in which office he was continued year after year, until 1861. At the beginning of the Confederate war he was elected colonel of the Third Alabama infantry and proceeded with it to Norfolk, Va., were he was placed over a brigade, and in May was given command of the eastern division of the Norfolk department under General Huger. In July he received the commission of brigadier-general and was put in command of the defenses of Mobile. When the Confederates were concentrating for the attack upon Grant, Withers' brigade was brought to Corinth, and in the fierce battle of Shiloh he led a division of two brigades. At the reorganization of the army at Tupelo, he was assigned to command of the reserve division, right wing, army of the Mississippi, Maj.-Gen. Leonidas Polk, and promoted to major-general. In his command were included Gardner's Alabama brigade, Chalmers' Mississippi brigade, Jackson's Alabama and Mississippi brigade, Manigault's Alabama and South Carolina brigade. He led this division in Bragg's campaign in Kentucky, but did not participate in the battle of Perryville on account of being ordered to join the forces under Kirby Smith, just before the engagement. At the battle of Murfreesboro his division was posted west of the river, and was

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