C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis surrounded himself with an interesting and eclectic group of Cabinet officials. His Secretary of War was Leroy Pope Walker.
Walker was born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1817. He received his education via private tutors and by studying at the University of Alabama and the University of Virginia. He was admitted to the bar by age 21 and practiced law. He was appointed a circuit court judge, later resigning that position to go back to his private law practice.
He was appointed as the Confederate States of America’s Secretary of War even though he had no prior military experience. One of his first duties was as Commissioner from Alabama sent to the Secession Convention in Tennessee where Walker read aloud Alabama’s Articles of Secession and worked to persuade Tennessee to join the Confederacy.
When the war started, it was Walker who ordered the bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 in the Charleston Harbor. Not long after, Walker boldly predicted that both Boston and Washington, DC would fall to Confederate forces by the end of that same month. Walker did not last long in his position as Secretary of War, resigning on September 16, 1861.
He was appointed as Brigadier General in the C.S.A. Army and commanded garrisons at Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama. He resigned his army post in March 1862 but returned in April 1864 to serve as a military judge.
Walker returned to his law practice after the war was over. He died in 1884.
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