Colonel Joseph Walker

Spartanburg, SC

Colonel Joseph Walker - b.18 May 1835 ; d. 27 January 1902, Spartanburg, SC

History of Spartanburg County by J.B.O. Landrum (originally published 1900 and reprinted 1997) pgs. 513-517 : Colonel Joseph Walker

In the great war between the States between three and four thousand men were enlisted in the service from Spartanburg district , and of this number only about three rose to the rank of colonel in the regular volunteer service of the Confederate States , viz. : O.E.Edwards, Benjamin T. Brockman and Joseph Walker, the latter the subject of this sketch. Colonel Walker was born on Fair Forest Creek within two miles of the city of Spartanburg. He is the son of Jacob A. and Susan (Cannon) Walker, both natives of Spartanburg county, born respectively in 1811 and '14. The father was a son of Colonel John Walker, a native of Virginia, and the mother the daughter of John Cannon (sister of Hon. Gabriel Cannon) , also a native of Virginia. They were married in 1833 and had four children, two sons and two daughters, of whom Colonel Walker was the eldest. The mother of this family died in 1850 and subsequently the father married Miss Adaline Patterson, who bore him five children, four sons and one daughter. Of these all are living except one son.

Colonel Walker was reared on his fathers plantation, receiving a good common school education. In 1853 he secured a position as a clerk in the store of John B. Cleveland , Sr., and remained with him for three years, during which time he received a good business education. from 1856 to 1860 he did business on his own account, availing himself of the means he had accumulated while a clerk. In 1860 he was united in marriage with Miss Susan E., daughter of Alexander WIngo, who was once sheriff of Spartanburg district. Mrs. Walker died in April 1900.

A few months before the outbreak of the civil war the Spartan Rifles was organized at Spartanburg, composed as it was of the very best material which could be brought together in that town and surrounding country. To the command of this gallant company, numbering at first nearly one hundred men, Joseph Walker was elected captain; the lieutenants of the same being John H. Evins, T. Stobo Farrow, and Dr. C. E. Fleming. Upon the reorganization of the 5th Regiment , S.C.V. (Colonel Micah Jenkins), the Spartan Rifles formed a part of the same, being known as Company K. Colonel Walker commanded this company for one year, which was the term for which the company had enlisted. In April, 1862, upon the reorganization of the South Carolina troops, in Virginia, he was elected lieutenant-colonel of the Palmetto Sharpshooters, composed of twelve companies, and upon the promotion of Colonel Jenkins to a brigadier-generalship, he was promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment and served as such until the end of the war. It would occupy considerable space in this volume to recount the distinguished service rendered the Southern cause by Colonel Walker at the head of the Palmetto Sharpshooters. When the record of that regiment is properly written and recorded in the pages of history, it will dsclose his military career also. He participated in nearly all the battles in which Lee's army was engaged, and also in the Chattanooga and Knoxville campaigns under Longstreet, in all of which he proved himself to be a brave and loyal soldier and an able and efficient officer. In referring to the battles of South Mountain and Sharpsburg, A.L. Walsh, in the Chester Reporter says: "It was my privilege to be with him (Colonel Walker) as courier through that campaign, though he had two extra couriers detailed from cavalry, from South Mountain till we reached Shepherdstown. I never served under a more courteous, brave, and generous officer than Colonel Joseph Walker of Spartanburg, and but for the termination when it did, he would have been a brigadier-general". Colonel Walker and his regiment surrendered with Lee at Appomattox, and on his return to Spartanburg he engaged in business as a merchant until 1875; then was in the cotton and fertilizer trade until 1889, when he took part in the reorganization of the Merchants and Farmers Bank, and has since served as president of the same. For ten years or more after the war he was the mayor of the city of Spartanburg, during which it commenced a new era of progress, which it still continues. He is a director in the Pacolet, Whitney, Beaumont, and Produco Mills, and holds the same office in the Iron District, Fire Insurance, Converse College, Spartanburg Herald, Fidelity Loan and Trust, People's Building and Loan, and Columbia Phosphate companies, all this showing him to be a progressive business man, fully alive to the best interests of his country and State. Colonel Walker was elected by the people of Spartanburg and the soldiers in the army from said county eligible to vote a representative to the State Legislature from 1864 to '66, and whatever service he rendered in that body was in the winter season when the armies were inactive and in winter quarters.

By his marriage in 1860 to Miss Wingo, he had two daughters living: Alice May, wife of J. Boyce Lee, merchant in Spartanburg; and Susan J., wife of L. Guy Harris, a manufacturer at Fairmount, S.C. Colonel Walker was the first commander of Camp Joseph Walker, named in his honor. His only full brother, Felix Walker, was killed in the civil war at the battle of Seven Pines. A gallant young man, let his memory be preserved along with the other heroes that perished in that great struggle for Southern liberty".

From microfilm #733 - "Complete Service Record: WALKER, Jos."

Joseph Walker enlisted as a Captain in the 5 Regt. South Carolina Infantry , Company K on 13 April 1861 in Spartanburg, South Carolina for a period of one year.

He was 26 years old at the time. He is present on the muster rolls for: 13 April 1861 - His pay from 13 April - 31 May 1861 was $208 or roughly $4.33 / day. His service records only contain Regimental Rosters for the period of 13 April 1861 through 28 February 1862.

From the Records of the War Department, Rebel Archives:
Letters of Recommendation For Promotion to Brigadier General

Richmond, Aug 11th 1864
To Genl. S. Cooper
Adjt. & Inspector General

General :

I take great pleasure in recommending for promotion Colonel Joseph Walker, Reg. Palmetto Sharpshooters. Col. Walker has been long and well known to me a gallant, efficient and enterprising officer.

He commanded a brigade in the division which I had the honor to command in the battle of 2nd Manassas, and well attested on that bloody field his worth and abilities. I regard him as a capital soldier, a good disciplinarian and peculiarly adapted to the command of our citizen soldiers. I cordially attest his merits and urge his promotion.

Warmest reply,
L. Kemper
Brig. Genl.

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This information is provided for the free use of those engaged in non-commercial genealogical research. Any commercial use is strictly prohibited.