Colonel of the 15th Alabama Infantry
(1818-74) Born in Camden, S.C., he graduated from South Carolina College, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1840, and opened a practice in Camden. Cantey served two terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives. He fought as an officer in the "Palmetto Regiment" during the Mexican War, rising to the rank of captain. He was severely wounded and left for dead on the battlefield, but when his slave retrieved his body to send home for burial, he saw faint signs of life in Cantey and saved his life. Cantey was so grateful that he offered to give the slave his freedom, but he refused. After the war he settled in Russell County, Alabama where he became a plantation owner. In 1861, he helped form the 15th Alabama Infantry Regiment and was elected their colonel. At the First Battle of Winchester, on May 25, 1862, in Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Cantey's regiment fought in General Isaac Trimble's Brigade of General Richard S. Ewell's Division and helped turn back the Union Army's advance. At the Battle of Cross Keys, the 15th Alabama Infantry was nearly cut off from the main force but fought their way back. Later, as part of Trimble's attack, his regiment helped flank the Union forces and drove them back. They then fought with General Jackson in the Seven Days Battles around Richmond, Va. Afterwards, Cantey was transferred and sent to Mobile, Alabama, where he organized a brigade of three Alabama regiments and one Mississippi regiment. Joining the Army of Tennessee, he was promoted to brigadier general to rank from January 8, 1863. His brigade fought in the Atlanta Campaign and the Franklin–Nashville Campaign. He led the brigade with distinction when they held off a much larger Union force at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia. Cantey fought in General Joseph E. Johnston's 1865 North Carolina Campaign, and his brigade surrendered to General William T. Sherman's Army at Greensboro, although there has been no record found of Cantey's personal parole. After the war he returned to Alabama and died on his plantation near Fort Mitchell, Ala., June 30, 1874.
Antique photograph, 2 5/8 x 3 5/8. Bust view in uniform taken at the time of the Mexican War. No imprint. Circa 1800's, post Civil War.