Today was also the birthday of a Confederate general; one that few people know, but who claims a unique place in Civil War history.
Frank Crawford Armstrong was born in 1835 at the Choctaw Agency, Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma). Crawford was only a boy when his army officer father, Frank Wells Armstrong, died in 1839. His mother, Anne M. Willard Armstrong, married another army officer Persifor Smith. Armstrong received a good education at Holy Cross Academy and College in Massachusetts, but chose the army life like his father and step-father. In 1854 he accompanied his step-father Smith on a journey to New Mexico territory where he fought Indians and received a promotion to 2nd Lieutenant. Armstrong also participated in the Utah Mormon campaign with future Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston in 1858-59.
When the Civil War broke out Armstrong was a captain in the United States 2nd Dragoons. He led the dragoons at the Battle of Manassas for the Union, but resigned his position shortly thereafter, which the War Department accepted on August 13, 1861. I don't know if the Union defeat played a significant part in Armstrong's decision to switch sides, but he made a quick departure back to the West. He was back across the Mississippi River in Missouri and serving as a staff officer for General Benjamin McCullough on August 10, 1861 at the Battle of Wilson's Creek. So, technically, since Armstrong's resignation from the U.S. army did not take effect until August 13, he was on both sides at once; something not many, if any, officers can claim.
Armstrong also saw action in Indian Territory and at Pea Ridge in 1861 and 1862. He was named Colonel for the 3rd Louisiana Infantry on May 8, 1862 while stationed near Corinth, Mississippi, but was soon transferred to cavalry service under General Sterling Price. In April 1863 Armstrong was formally promoted to brigadier general and placed in General Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry. He and his men participated in the Tullahoma Campaign and fought at Chickamauga. He also participated in the ill-fated Knoxville campaign, the Atlanta campaign and John Bell Hood's Tennessee campaign in the fall and winter of 1864-65. Armstrong's command guarded Selma, Alabama in the spring of 1865, and there fought the Union cavalry of general James H. Wilson. His command was surrendered on May 4, 1865.
After the war Armstrong worked in Texas with the Overland Mail Service. In the late 1880s he served as a United States Indian Inspector, and in the 1890s he was the Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Frank Crawford Armstrong died on September 8, 1909 in Bar Harbor, Maine and was buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C.