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Dabney Herndon MAURY

educator , general , military

Dabney Herndon MAURY, General, military, educator.


MAURY, Dabney Herndon was born on May 21, 1822 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, United States, United States. Son of Captain John Minor Maury and his wife Eliza (Maury).


Private school, United States Military Academy.


He left his study of law at the University of Virginia in 1842 to pursue a military career, and in 1846, he graduated thirty-seventh in a class of fifty-nine from the U.S. Military Academy. In 1852, he married Nannie R. Mason. They had one son and two daughters.

Wounded at Cerro Gordo during the Mexican War, Maury was breveted first lieutenant before serving as an assistant professor in infantry tactics at West Point from 1850 to 1852. From 1852 to 1858, he served as a lieutenant on frontier duty in Texas, and from 1858 to 1860, he was superintendent of the cavalry school at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1859, he published Skirmish Drill for Mounted Troops, and the following year he was breveted captain and named adjutant general of New Mexico.

When the Civil War began, he resigned from the federal army. He served as adjutant general in the Confederate Army and, early in 1862, was appointed chief of staff to General Earl Van Dorn, with whom he fought in the battles of Elkhorn Tavern and Pea Ridge. He was promoted to brigadier general on March 12, 1862, and to major general on November 12, 1862, after serving as a division commander at the battle of Corinth.

He saw action at Yazoo Pass and Steele’s Bayou during the Vicksburg campaign, and he commanded the Department of East Tennessee, with headquarters at Knoxville, until May 1863, when he was made commander for the District of the Gulf, a position which he retained throughout the remainder of the war. He was captured when Mobile fell, but he was later paroled. After the war, he was penniless and he had no previous business experience to help him find a job.

Maury returned to his family home in Fredericksburg where he taught school, wrote a school history of Virginia, and helped to organize the Southern Historical Society in 1869. He also served as a member of the executive committee of the National Guard and was U.S. minister to Colombia from 1885 to 1889. He wrote his Recollections of a Virginian prior to his death on January 11,1900, at his son’s home in Peoria, Illinois.


  • Author: System of Tactics in Single Rank (published 1859 and now universally used). Recollections of a Virginian. History of Virginia.


"Peculiar institution" of slavery was not only expedient but also ordained by God and upheld in Holy Scripture.


Stands for preserving slavery, states' rights, and political liberty for whites. Every individual state is sovereign, even to the point of secession.


Spouse Nannie R.