Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Polk, Leonidas
POLK, LEONIDAS, an American military officer; born in Raleigh, N. C., April 10, 1806; was a cousin of President Polk. Graduating at the United States Military Academy in 1827, he received a commission in the artillery, but was induced to study for the ministry, and in 1838 was consecrated Bishop of Arkansas and Indian Territory, with charge of the dioceses of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. In 1841 he resigned all these except the bishopric of Louisiana, which he retained till his death. Soon after the outbreak of the Civil War he was offered a major-generalship by Jefferson Davis, and, accepting it, proceeded to strongly fortify strategical points on the Mississippi. At Belmont, in November, 1861, he was driven from his camp by Grant, but returned and compelled him to retire. At Shiloh and at Corinth he commanded the 1st Corps; in October, 1862, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General and in November he conducted the retreat from Kentucky. After Chickamauga, where he commanded the right wing, he was relieved of his command; but in December, 1863, he was appointed to the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and Eastern Louisiana, and he afterward joined Johnston in opposing Sherman's march to Atlanta. He was killed while reconnoitering on Pine Mountain, June 14, 1864.