MARCUS JOSEPH WRIGHT
WRIGHT, MARCUS JOSEPH, soldier and author, was born in Purdy, Tennessee, June 5, 1831. His parents were Benjamin and Martha Ann (Hicks) Wright. His father was a captain in the United States army, who served under General Andrew Jackson, and was distinguished for gallantry at the battle of the Horseshoe. The earliest known ancestor of the family in America was John Wright, a brave and efficient soldier who served in the Revolution as a captain of the "Georgia Line." He was a cousin of the last British governor of Georgia.
Most of the early life of Marcus Joseph Wright was passed in the small village in which he was born. His health was good and was established by the performance of the various tasks common to the boy whose home was on a farm. He studied in the common schools and the academy of his native place, and at a private school in Mississippi, but did not attend any higher institution of learning. While a clerk in the navy yard at Memphis, Tennessee, he began to study law. He was admitted to the bar and appointed clerk of the common law and chancery court of Memphis. At the outbreak of the Civil war he entered the Confederate army as lieutenant-colonel of a regiment of infantry. In the battle of Belmont and also in that of Shiloh in which he was wounded, he was in command of his regiment. In December, 1862, he was promoted brigadier-general. He commanded his brigade in the three-days battle of Chickamauga, and was in the thickest of the fight. His horse was shot and fell upon him, and he was reported killed. The loss of his brigade was more than thirty-five per cent.; but it shared with the brigade of General Maney the credit of breaking the last stand made by the Union army in that great battle. Afterward he was in command at various points, his last assignment being the district of West Tennessee.At the close of the war he returned to Memphis and for two years, 1865-67, was sheriff of Shelby county. He continued his law practice until the summer of 1878, when he was appointed agent of the United States government for the collection of facts and statistics