The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Polk, Leonidas

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POLK, Leonidas, American general and Protestant Episcopal bishop; b. Raleigh, N. C., 10 April 1806; d. Pine Mountain, Ga., 14 June 1864. He was a cousin of President Polk (q.v.). Educated at the United States Military Academy, he subsequently studied for the ministry, and in 1831 took priest's orders in the Episcopal Church. In 1838 he was consecrated missionary bishop of the Southwest Indian Territory, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. In 1841 he was appointed bishop of Louisiana, and his plan for a system of higher education in the South had its outcome in Sewanee University and the University of the South, established in 1858. He was an ardent lover of the South and soon after the outbreak of the Civil War was offered a major-generalship in the Confederate army and, accepting it, proceeded to fortify strongly strategic points on the Mississippi. At Shiloh and at Corinth he commanded the First corps; in October 1862 be was promoted to lieutenant-general, and in November conducted the retreat from Kentucky. In December 1863 he was promoted to the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and eastern Louisiana, and afterward joined Johnston in opposing Sherman's march to Atlanta. He was killed by a cannon ball while reconnoitring on Pine Mountain. Consult ‘Life’ by his son, W. M. Polk (1893).