United States ( Confederate States, 1861-1865)
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William Barksdale Sr.; Nancy Hervey Lester
William Barksdale (brother)
Confederate States Representative from Mississippi (1861-1865); United States Representative from Mississippi (1883-1887)
Ethelbert Barksdale (January 4, 1824 – February 17, 1893) was a United States Representative from Mississippi (1883-1887), as well as a member of the Confederate States House of Representatives during the American Civil War. His brother William was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Near the war's end, Rep. Barksdale introduced legislation that would permit
"Negroes" to fight in the Confederate States Army against the Union. This bill passed the Confederate House, but was barely defeated in the Senate. A few weeks later, a version of this "last resort" effort was eventually approved, though never implemented.
Ethelbert Barksdale became a staunch member of President Robert E. Lee's Confederate Party. He was the lone member of his party hailing from Mississippi to be re-elected in the wake of Nathan Bedford Forrest's moderately successful opposition to the end of slavery.
In one of Lee's darkest moments, he took comfort from Barksdale's words of support.