Brigadier General William Felix Brantley
By far the most noted Brantley Confederate Officer during the civil war was Brigadier General William Felix Brantley. We discussed the General in the 2nd and 4th reports.
General Brantley began his military career in 1861 as Captain of The Wigfall Rifles (Company D 15th Mississippi Infantry, later the 29th Infantry). He was rapidly advanced to the rank of Colonel, and commanded his regiment at the great battles of Murfreesboro and Chickamauga. For his part in the fight on Lookout Mountain, he was particularly commended by Colonel Walthall, the Brigade Commander. At Resaca, Georgia he led a charge on the enemy that was of notable gallantry and his line three time repulsed the Union assaults. At the battle of Ezra Church, near Atlanta, General Samuel Benton was killed and Colonel Brantley took command of the brigade, which he retained with his promotion to Brigadier- General, to the close of the war. The General was assassinated at Winona, Mississippi on November 2, 1970. He is buried at the local Greensboro Cemetery.
General Brantley was born on March 12, 1830 in Green County, Alabama to William and Marinda (Jolly) Brantley. His father was the son of Malachi Brantley and Polly Thomas once of Hancock County, Georgia and previously of Edgecombe County, N.C. Wm Felix and at least three of his brothers were highly educated for their day. He had began law practice in 1852 at Greensboro, Mississippi. The three brothers were: Dr John Ransom Brantley, Arnold J Brantley (Mayor of Winona, Miss), Albert Horton Brantley (District Attorney). Another brother was Edmund, who died in a gun dual in Tennessee. He had two sisters, Mary and Missouri. Missouri Brantley married Josiah Dunn. This area in Mississippi where this family lived had one of the worst reputations for violence in that area in that day and time. Except for Albert, all these brothers died violent deaths. As mentioned, his brother Edmund died in a gun dual. His brother, Dr John Ransom Brantley was killed in Gonzales, Texas in 1859 by the hand of David Balzell. On August 16, 1870, his brother Arnold J Brantley, mayor of Winona, was shot in cold blood, according to reports. The "Weekly Clarion" stated in November 1970 that it was the General's attempt to bring to justice the party responsible for the murder of his brother, that led to his own. None of the latter assassins were ever apprehended. Even his nephew William Dunn, son of his sister Missouri, was shot and killed in Greensboro, by a man named Story in 1872. On November 2, 1870, the General was ambushed about one half mile east of Winona. He had been warned of the dangers of traveling from Winona to Greensboro. He stated that he intended to go wherever his business called him.
The Clarion article described General Brantley as being possessed of remarkably sound judgment, a man who allowed no danger to turn him from the right or left once his mind was made up.
His grave with his image chiseled in the tombstone is in the Greensboro, Mississippi Cemetery. He had married first Cornelia Medley and later Julia Cunningham. Of all his children, only one daughter lived to adulthood. She was Mary T. (Brantley) Knight. She died in 1943 in St Louis, Missouri.