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Felix Alexander Reeve, U.S.V.
Colonel Felix Alexander Reeve, U.S.V.
Colonel Felix Alexander Reeve, the eldest son of Thomas J. and Rebecca
Ann Earnest Reeve, was born in Eastern Tennessee, September 4, 1836. The
Reeve family has been seated in Suffolk, England, for centuries. On his
father's side, Colonel Reeve is descended from the Adams stock, and the
Coxes of Maryland; and through his mother, from the Oliphants and Bruces
of Scotland, and the Ernsts of Germany.
In 1860 he left his country home and went to Knoxville, where he resided
in the family of the widely famous Parson Brownlow, and read law with Hon.
O. P. Temple, having the friendship of these sterling Union men, as well
as of other leaders of the patriotic people of East Tennessee, " whose
faith stood firm as rocky mountains," when the life of the nation was
imperiled. Their loyalty, sacrifice, and suffering will be the theme of
song and story in ages yet to be!
Colonel Reeve was a Whig and Unionist; and after voting for the candidate
for the Federal Congress in August, 1861, he left his native mountains for
Washington City, where he was employed in the Treasury Department by
Secretary Chase, until he resigned to enter the Federal army. By order of
President Lincoln he was appointed a colonel and authorized to recruit a
regiment of loyal Tennesseeans. Proceeding to Kentucky in 1862, he
recruited the Eighth Tennessee Infantry Volunteers from the refugees who
had fled from home and family to escape the rebel conscript; and so
successful were his efforts, that when General Burnside started for East
Tennessee, he had a thousand well officered men in line. His regiment was
assigned to the Second Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-third Army Corps.
Upper East Tennessee was occupied by the Federal army early in September,
1863; Colonel Reeve took an active part in that campaign, and was at
Knoxville with his regiment during the siege,-from November 17 until
December 5,-when it was raised after an unsuccessful assault on Fort
On the 4th of May, 1864, he was ordered on the Georgia campaign. The first
engagement was at Buzzard's Roost, the 9th of May; on the 14th was fought
the battle of Resaca, the Twenty-third Corps bringing on the engagement.
The battle of Burnt Hickory was fought May 26; then ensued daily
skirmishing until the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, June 17. In this
engagement his brother, Jesse S. Reeve, adjutant of the regiment, fell
||On October 4, 1864, General
Thomas assumed command of the Fourteenth, Sixteenth, Nineteenth, and
Twenty-third Corps, and moved northward, while General Sherman
proceeded South with the remainder of his army. The Eighth Tennessee
took part in several actions just prior to the battle of Franklin,
November 30, and the battle of Nashville, December 1, in both of
which, as well as in other engagements, it bore a gallant and
conspicuous part. The Army of the Ohio having been ordered to North
Carolina in January, 1865, the Eighth Tennessee was in the actions
of Fort Anderson, Town Creek, and Wilmington. Returning to Nashville
in the spring, the regiment was mustered out of the service.
As commanding officer of the regiment, and for a time of a brigade,
he was rewarded by the commendation of General Burnside, General
Schofield, and his more immediate commander, General Cox, who spoke
of him as " a brave and meritorious officer."
Owing to illness contracted in the Georgia campaign, Colonel Reeve, by
advice of his surgeon, resigned from the army, but with reluctance.
After leaving the service he resumed the study, and entered upon the
practice, of the law at Knoxville. Without ambition outside of his
profession, he has never sought political preferment. He is an independent
Democrat and a member of the Loyal Legion.
Before retiring from the executive chair, President Johnson nominated him
for the office of United States attorney for the Eastern District of
Tennessee; but the unsolicited honor was declined.
He pursued the practice of law until January, 1879, when he removed to
Washington City. In 1880 he was professionally employed in the Department
of Justice. In 1886 he was appointed assistant solicitor of the Treasury
by President Cleveland, a position he has continued to hold acceptably
under President Harrison.
In the spring of 1865 Colonel Reeve intermarried with Wilhelmina
Donelson-Maynard of Knoxville; and as a reward of this union they have
been blessed with eight children.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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