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Henry De Lamar Clayton Sr. papers

Identifier: MSS-0313

Scope and Contents note

The papers of General Henry De Lamar Clayton document his life, actions, and influence. The material is arranged in eight series relating to the different aspects of General Clayton's life. The series are Family and Personal Data, Emory, Generalship, Judgeship, Miscellany, Politics, Stone Mountain Memorial, and the University of Alabama Presidency. Because of the volume of material, each series is sub-divided. Common sub-divisions include Correspondence--which constitutes the bulk of the collection--News Clippings; Legal and Financial Papers; Reports and Official Papers; and Speeches. Included in the series, Family and Personal Data is correspondence and papers of other family members as well as the personal, family correspondence and papers of General Clayton. General Clayton's papers reflect his professional and political activities as a lawyer and Alabama legislator, 1848-1861; service in the Confederate Army, 1861-1865; planter and circuit court judge, 1866-1868, 1886; political aspirant, 1886; and President of the University of Alabama, 1886-1889.


  • 1840-1925


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Biographical/Historical note

Henry De Lamar Clayton, Sr. was born in Pulaski County, Georgia, on March 7, 1827, the son of Nelson and Sarah Clayton. He graduated from Emory and Henry College, Virginia, after which he read law under John G. and Eli S. Shorter in Eufaula, Alabama. In 1848 he was licensed as an attorney and began the practice of law in Clayton, Alabama. In 1857 he was chosen to represent Barbour County in the Alabama Legislature, and he served as a member of the House of Representatives until 1861.

Upon the threat of war Clayton urged Governor Moore to accept the volunteer regiment of trained companies of which he was colonel. Two of the companies were accepted in February 1861, and he enlisted in one of them as a private but was ordered to go at once to Pensacola, Florida, and take command of Alabama troops as they arrived. On March 28, 1861, the First Alabama Regiment was organized with Clayton as colonel. He remained at Pensacola, in command of a brigade for a year, and then organized as a new regiment, the Thirty-Ninth Alabama Volunteers, which he led as colonel in the Kentucky campaign and in the battle of Murfreesboro.

In the battle of Murfreesboro he was severely wounded, and immediately afterward was promoted to brigadier-general. The brigade to which he was assigned at Tullahoma, in April 1863, consisted of the Eighteenth, Thirty-Sixth, Thirty-Eight, Thirty-Second, and Fifty-Eight Regiments. Clayton's brigade bore a conspicuous part at Chickamauga, in the fighting around Dalton, Georgia, at New Hope Church, and in all the battles of the Atlanta and subsequent Tennessee campaigns and the final campaign in the Carolinas. General Clayton's conduct in the Atlanta campaign won for him the commission of major-general, July 7, 1864, and he became the successor of A.P. Stewart in division command, the brigades under his command being Gibson's, Stovall's, Baker's, and his own under Holtzclaw. He led this division during the battles around Atlanta, at Jonesboro, in the Nashville campaign, and up to the surrender in North Carolina.

At the close of the war General Clayton turned his attention to planting, until elected Judge of the Circuit Court in May 1866. He held this position until he was removed under the Reconstruction Acts of Congress in 1868. He then practiced law until he was reelected as Circuit Court Judge following the end of Reconstruction. He held that position for nearly twenty years until he resigned to accept the nomination for Governor. He was defeated but was elected President of the University of Alabama in the same year, 1886. He died on October 13, 1889, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


7.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The personal, legal, military, and administrative papers, of this Alabama politician, Confederate general, and University of Alabama president.


Gift of Preston Clayton, 1953

Processed by

unknown; updated by R. Rumstay, 2008; updated by Martha Bace, 2012
Guide to the Henry De Lamar Clayton Sr. papers
February 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266