Alabama legislature, is a cousin. His wife is the daughter of E. L. Woodward, a merchant of Calhoun county.
Brigadier-General Birkett Davenport Fry was born in Kanawha county, Va., June 24, 1822. His father was Thornton Fry, grandson of Col. Joshua Fry, who figured in colonial history. He was educated at Washington college, Pa., at the Virginia military institute, and at West Point. He did not remain at West Point to graduate, but studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1846. When ten new regiments were raised for the Mexican war he was commissioned a first lieutenant of United States voltigeurs and foot riflemen, of which Joseph E. Johnston was lieutenant-colonel. He served as adjutant at Contreras and Churubusco, and led a company at Molino del Rey and Chapultepec, where he was mentioned as distinguished. After the war had ended and the regiment had been disbanded at Fort McHenry, Md., he, with a party of other young men, went across the plains to California, where he remained until 1856. Going then to Nicaragua, he joined Walker's expedition as colonel and general. He commanded at Granada and defeated the army of Guatemala. After the failure of that expedition he returned to San Francisco, continuing there until the autumn of 1859, when he went to Alabama and, settling at Tallassee, engaged in cotton manufacturing until the opening of the civil war. On July 19, 1861, he was commissioned colonel of the Thirteenth Alabama infantry. Reporting at once with his regiment at Richmond, he was ordered to Yorktown, where he remained until its evacuation. At the battle of Seven Pines he was wounded in the hand. After an absence of six weeks he returned to his regiment and remained with it until his left arm was shattered, near the shoulder, at Sharpsburg. The surgeons decided that it would be necessary to amputate the arm. "What are the chances of my living without the operation?" "One in three hundred," was the answer.