Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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LAWTON, Alexander Robert, soldier, born in Beaufort county, South Carolina, about 1818. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1839, commissioned 2d lieutenant in the 1st artillery, and stationed on the northern frontier till 1841, when he resigned, he then studied law at Harvard, and in 1842 was admitted to the bar at Savannah, Georgia He was president of the Savannah and Augusta railroad in 1849-'54, state senator in 1854-'61, and president of the Georgia Democratic convention in 1860. When the civil war began he was colonel of the only volunteer regiment in Georgia, and seized Fort Pulaski under Governor Joseph E. Brown's orders. He retained command at Savannah till April, 1861, when he became brigadier-general in the provisional Confederate army, and was put in command of the coast of Georgia. In June, 1862, he was transferred to Virginia, and served in several campaigns. He received the command of a division, was severely wounded at Antietam, and after his recovery served as quarter-master-general till the close of the war. Afterward he resumed the practice of law in Savannah, and was in the legislature in 1875. In 1885 he was appointed by President Cleveland minister to Russia, but the disabilities that he had incurred by taking part in the civil war against the United States government had not been removed, and the appointment could not be confirmed. Subsequently he was appointed United States minister to Austria.
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