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John Clifford Pemberton

John Clifford Pemberton



John Clifford Pemberton (18141881)
CLASS OF 1837

Despite a Quaker upbringing in Philadelphia, Pemberton became a career soldier after West Point. His service included the Seminole War, the Mexican War, the Kansas border disturbances, and the Mormon War in Utah.

After returning from Mexico, Pemberton married Martha Thompson from Norfolk, Virginia. Devoted to his wife and also a strong believer in states’ rights, he resigned his U.S. Army commission to join the Confederacy in 1861. Two of his brothers fought for the Union.

Questions about his loyalty to the South plagued Pemberton throughout the war, especially when he surrendered Vicksburg and 27,000 troops in 1863. He returned to the Confederacy in an 1864 prisoner-of-war exchange. Ashamed of his defeat, he resigned as general and enlisted as a private. Jefferson Davis restored him to lieutenant colonel and assigned him to Richmond. When the war ended, Pemberton retired to a Virginia farm.


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Robert Anderson




Key Figures






Alfred Mordecai
Alfred Mordecai
1804–1887
Class of 1823



George Henry Thomas
George Henry Thomas
1816–1870
Class of 1840



John Clifford Pemberton
John Clifford Pemberton
1814–1881
Class of 1837



Robert Anderson
Robert Anderson
1805–1871
Class of 1825



Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard
1815–1893
Class of 1838





Smithsonian National Museum of American History


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