Bee, Barnard Elliott

February 8, 1824–July 22, 1861

Bee’s brigade was the first to reinforce General Pierre G. T. Beauregard at Manassas Junction, Virginia, and he was instrumental in ensuring the Confederate victory on July 21, 1861, by delaying the Union advance. While holding off the Federals, Bee saw the brigade of Thomas J. Jackson standing to the rear and not assisting his command. Bee called out, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall.”

Soldier. Bee was born in Charleston on February 8, 1824, the son of Barnard Elliott Bee and Ann Wragg Fayssoux. Bee’s father moved to Texas in 1835, and the family followed in 1839. Bee received an at-large appointment to the U.S. Military Academy in 1841 and graduated thirty-third in his class in 1845. He was appointed a brevet second lieutenant in time to participate in the Mexican-American War. Bee was present with Zachary Taylor’s army at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and was then sent on recruiting service. He joined Winfield Scott’s army in 1847, was at the siege of Vera Cruz, and was wounded at Cerro Gordo. He received brevet promotions to first lieutenant for Cerro Gordo and captain for Chapultepec. In 1853 South Carolina awarded him a sword of honor for his gallantry during the war.

Bee remained in the army after the war and was stationed at various western posts. He was at Fort Laramie, Dakota Territory, when South Carolina seceded. On March 3, 1861, Bee resigned from the U.S. Army to accept a commission in Confederate service. Bee quickly advanced from major to brigadier general and was in command of the Third Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah in June 1861. Bee’s brigade was the first to reinforce General Pierre G. T. Beauregard at Manassas Junction, Virginia, and he was instrumental in ensuring the Confederate victory on July 21, 1861, by delaying the Union advance. While holding off the Federals, Bee saw the brigade of Thomas J. Jackson standing to the rear and not assisting his command. Bee called out, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall.” Controversy continues over whether he meant the statement as a compliment or a criticism. Nevertheless, Bee is credited with giving “Stonewall” Jackson his nickname. Bee fell mortally wounded during the battle and died the next day, July 22, 1861. He was buried in Pendleton.

Davis, William C., and Julie Hoffman, eds. The Confederate General. 4 vols. to date. Harrisburg, Pa.: National Historical Society, 1991– .

Freeman, Douglas Southall. Lee’s Lieutenants: A Study in Command. 3 vols. New York: Scribner’s, 1942–1944.

Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Bee, Barnard Elliott
  • Coverage February 8, 1824–July 22, 1861
  • Author
  • Keywords Soldier, brevet second lieutenant, Mexican-American War, resigned from the U.S. Army to accept a commission in Confederate service, Third Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah, credited with giving “Stonewall” Jackson his nickname
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date October 24, 2021
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update October 13, 2016
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