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Zack Cantey Deas was born in Camden, South Carolina on October 25,1819.
In 1835 he moved to Mobile, Alabama with his father's family. There, he engaged in mercantile business. He served in the Mexican War. At the beginning of the Civil War he was on the staff of General Joseph E. Johnston. In the fall of 1861 he raised a regiment, the 22nd Alabama, and equipted it. With $28,000 of his own gold he purchased for his men 800 Enfield rifles and led them at the battle of Shiloh where he was severely wounded. He also had two horses shot out from under him in this fight.
In 1862 he was promoted to command of the Alabama Brigade, which at Chicamauga lost over fifty percent of its members, and fought heroically at Missionary Ridge and at Franklin.
After the war he lived in New York, where he died March 6,1882 at the age of 63.