Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., Confederate general, was born on February 8, 1824, in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Anne and Barnard E. Bee, Sr. In the summer of 1836 the family moved to the Republic of Texas, where Bee's father served as secretary of state. The young man was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point with an "at large" status on July 1, 1841, and he graduated thirty-third in the class of 1845. He was brevetted a second lieutenant in the Third United States Infantry regiment on July 1, 1845, and was confirmed in that grade on September 21, 1846. In the Mexican War he was brevetted to the rank of first lieutenant on April 18, 1847, "for gallant and meritorious conduct" at the battle of Cerro Gordo and to captain on September 13, 1847, for his role in the storming of Chapultepec. He was also presented with a sword by the state of South Carolina for his services. Bee served as adjutant in the Tenth United States Infantry regiment from July 25, 1848, through March 3, 1855, and was promoted to first lieutenant on March 5, 1851, and to captain on March 3, 1855. After resigning his United States Army commission on March 3, 1861, Bee was elected lieutenant colonel of the First South Carolina Regulars, a Confederate regiment of artillery. On June 17, 1861, he was appointed brigadier general and assigned to the command of a brigade in Gen. Pierre G. T. Beauregard's Army of Virginia at Manassas Junction. There, on July 21, 1861, his men sustained the brunt of the federal assault on the Confederate left wing in the first battle of Manassas, or Bull Run, and Bee is said to have ordered his men to "Rally behind the Virginians! There stands Jackson like a stonewall!" thus giving Gen. Thomas J. Jackson his famous sobriquet. Leading by example, Bee was constantly at the head of his brigade and fell mortally wounded just as the enemy assault began to recede. He died on July 22, 1861, in the small cabin near the battlefield that had been his headquarters. The Confederate congress confirmed his rank as brigadier general more than a month after his death. He is buried in Pendleton, South Carolina. He was the brother of Hamilton P. Bee.
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Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1903; rpt., Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965). Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959).
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Generals and Brigade Commanders
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Thomas W. Cutrer,
“Bee, Barnard Elliott, Jr.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 23, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 1, 1994
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: