Gabriel Rene Paul, Brigadier General,

Gabriel Rene Paul, Brigadier General,

Esteemed member contributes: Gabriel Rene Paul, Brigadier General, USA. b. 1813 (or 1811) d. 1886

Gabriel Paul was born in St Louis MO in 1813. His father and grandfather had both been Napoleonic Officers. After graduating 18th in the 36 man class of 1834 at the USMA, Paul served in the Soutwest and against the Seminoles, and in the Mexican War. Paul was breveted Major for the storming of Chapultepec, for which he also received a presentation sword from the city of St Louis.

Following service on the Indian frontier, Paul was promoted Major of the 8th US Infantry (to date from April 22, 1861) while that unit was stationed at Albuquerque, New Mexico Territory. Paul was acting IG of the Department of NM until appointed Col 4th NM Infantry.

After Canby was cut off in Ft Craig, Paul became, by his seniority, de fact field commander. Ordered by Canby to concentrate men and supplies at Ft. Union, north of Santa Fe, Paul set about preparing the fort to withstand a siege. He had a star shaped fort, complete with bombproofs, constructed.

When the Colorado Volunteers arrived, Paul found himself outranked by their commander, Col. Slough, and an argument ensued as to the interpretation of Canby's orders. Paul was against the movement south by Slough's force that led to the two day Battle of Glorieta Pass, and the destuction of the Confederate wagon train.

During the Confederate retreat from New Mexico, part of the Texas troops became isolated from the rest of the army at Peralta. The Colorado troops under Chivington as well as Paul argued vehemently for an agressive attack, but Canby refused.

Paul became Lt Col, 8th US Infantry on April 25th, 1862. He was appointed BG USV on Sept 5th 1862, but was not confirmed. Paul was then reappointed April 18, 1863 and confirmed, commanding Third Brigade, First Division First Corps, AoP,( from 17 Oct 1862) participating in Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. 17 June 1863 saw Paul commanding First Brigade, Second Division, First Corps, AoP.

1 July 1863 saw Paul's brigade heavily engaged at Gettysburg. While attempting to rally a portion of one of his regiments, the 29th NJ, Paul was struck by a rifle ball, inflicting a terrible wound. The ball entered his right temple and exited from his left eye, permanantly blinding the General, and also affecting his senses of taste and smell. For his action at Gettysburg, the 29th gave Paul a second presentation sword.

After a partial recovery from his wound, Paul attempted to return to administrative duties, but was placed on the retired list, first as a Colonel, USA, upgraded in 1866 to Brigadier General, USA.

Paul died in 1886 and is interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

"great in heart and mighty in valor" (Appleton's "Cyclopedia of American Biography", 1891)


The Civil War Dictionary, Boatner 1987 Generals in Blue, Warner 1964 The Civil War in The Western Territories, Colton

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