GREER, ELKANAH BRACKEN (1825-1877). Elkanah Bracken (Brackin) Greer, soldier, planter, and politician, was born in Paris, Tennessee, on October 13, 1825, the son of Capt. James and Rachel (Bracken) Greer. In 1845 he joined the First Mississippi Rifles as a private under Jefferson Davisqv for service in the Mexican War and participated in the battles at Monterrey and Buena Vista. Greer served as major general of the Mississippi militia soon after the war ended. He moved to Marshall, Texas, in 1848 and returned briefly to Tennessee in 1851 to marry Anna Holcombe; the couple had four children. During his antebellum years in Marshall he was a merchant, a planter, and a lawyer in the firm of Pope, Stedman, and Greer. He also served for a time as superintendent of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Marshall.
Greer was an ardent states'-rights Democrat and became grand commander of the Knights of the Golden Circle in 1859. He organized support for the filibustering program of the KGC, and in February of 1860 he offered Governor Sam Houston a regiment of mounted volunteers to invade Mexico. Later that year Greer attended the Democratic convention in Charleston as a delegate, and he was among the "bolters" who refused to accept Stephen Douglas's platform. In Texas he urged the calling of the Secession Convention after the Republican presidential victory. He entered the Confederate army in May of 1861 and raised the Third Texas Cavalry by June. With Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch's Army of the West, he commanded his regiment at the battles of Wilson's Creek (Oak Hill), Missouri, and Chustenahlah, Indian Territory. At Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), Arkansas, despite sustaining a slight wound, Greer temporarily succeeded to the command of McCulloch's division after McCulloch and several other senior commanders became casualties. During the spring of 1862 Greer commanded a cavalry brigade that included his Texas regiment. After participating in the evacuation of Corinth he resigned his command on June 1, 1862, but later returned to service and was appointed brigadier general on October 8, 1862. He eventually became chief of the conscription bureau for the Trans-Mississippi Department and head of the Reserve Corps. He worked with Gen. John B. Magruder to reconcile Confederate conscription laws with Texas state laws. After the Civil War Greer lived in Marshall in semiretirement. In 1875 he was a member of the reception committee for Jefferson Davis's visit to Marshall. He died while visiting his sister at Devall's Bluff, Arkansas, on March 25, 1877, and was buried next to his parents at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee.
Grave of Elkanah B. Greer
Texans in the Civil War
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