Rufus Clay Barringer Bio-Sketch


Name: Rufus Clay Barringer
Rank: Brigadier General
Education: University of North Carolina
Birth Date: December 2, 1821
Birth Place: Cabarrus County, NC
Death Date: February 3, 1895
Death Place: Charlotte, NC

Rufus Clay Barringer was born on December 2, 1821 in Cabarrus County, NC, the ninth of ten children to Paul and Elizabeth Barringer. Attending the University of North Carolina, Barringer studied law. He then moved to Concord to study law under his older brother, Daniel Barringer.  Daniel eventually served in the U. S. House of Representatives. Rufus went on to serve in the N. C. General Assembly from 1848-1850 as a Whig. In 1854, Rufus Barringer married Eugenia Morrison. Eugenia’s sisters also married future Confederate generals, Thomas Jackson and Daniel Harvey Hill. Eugenia died in 1858 after a bout with typhoid fever leaving Rufus to raise their two children as a widower.  Rufus married, again, in 1861 to Rosalie Chunn. They had one son before her death in 1864.

Rufus Barringer remained loyal to his home state of North Carolina despite his opposition to secession. He raised a company of one hundred horsemen that would be assigned to the 1st N. C. Cavalry.  The 1st N. C. Cavalry mainly served doing picket duty under J. E. B. Stuart in the first two years of the war. In June, 1863, Captain Barringer led his company in action at Brandy Station where he was   wounded in the face. This wound sidelined Barringer for almost five months. Recovering from his wounds just before the Battle at Bristoe Station, now Major Barringer, again returned to the field. The winter of 1863 saw Barringer gaining another promotion, lieutenant colonel, and temporarily leading the 4th N. C. Cavalry.

Rufus Barringer was promoted to brigadier general in June, 1864 and given command of the N. C. Cavalry Brigade. He led his men in action until his capture on April 3, 1865 at the Battle of Namozine Church in Virginia. He met President Lincoln behind Union lines and he briefly talked with him. Lincoln was a personal friend and colleague of his brother, Daniel.  Lincoln sent a letter to Fort Delaware where Barringer was being held, and to Secretary of War Stanton, asking for special treatment for Rufus.  Upon the assassination of President Lincoln, Rufus Barringer was questioned numerous times about his part in the conspiracy due to his previous meeting with President Lincoln. Eventually, finding Rufus had no part in the plot or conspiracy, the Union authorities released him from prison in July, 1865. He saw action in over seventy-five engagements and was wounded at least three times.

After his release from Fort Delaware, he returned to Charlotte and set up a law practice of his own. He took an interest in the state’s railroad system, and even owned a farm that was leased out. Rufus Barringer and Margaret Long married in 1870. He voted in the 1875 N. C. Constitutional Delegation. Running unsuccessfully in 1880 as the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor would end his political ambitions. Rufus Barringer retired from his law practice in 1884 and died on February 3, 1895.  He is buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte, NC.