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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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Gabriel James Rains

RAINS, Gabriel James, soldier, born in Craven county, North Carolina, in June, 1803; died in Aiken, South Carolina, 6 September, 1881. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1827, assigned to the infantry, and served in garrison and against hostile Indians till the Mexican war, being promoted captain on 25 December, 1837, and brevetted major, 28 April, 1840, for gallantry in the action with the Seminoles near Fort King, Florida, where he routed a superior force, and was twice severely wounded. One of his injuries was considered mortal, and several obituary notices of him were published. He was one of the first to be engaged in the Mexican war, being one of the defenders of Fort Brown in May, 1846. When the demand for the surrender of this post was made by General Ampudia, Captain Rains gave the deciding vote against compliance with it in a council of officers. After the battle of Resaca de la Palma he was ordered to the United States on recruiting duty, and organized a large part of the recruits for General Scott's campaign. He became major on 9 March, 1851, and from 1853 till the civil war was on the Pacific coast, where he made a reputation as a successful Indian fighter, and in 1855 was a brigadier-general of Washington territory volunteers. He was made lieutenant-colonel on 5 June, 1860, but resigned on 31 July, 1861, and joined the Confederate army, in which he was commissioned brigadier-general. He led a division at Wilson's Creek, did good service at. Shiloh and Perrysville, and after the battle of Seven Pines, where he was wounded, was highly commended by General Daniel H. Hill for a rapid and successful flank movement that turned the tide of battle in favor of the Confederates. He was then placed in charge of the conscript and torpedo bureaus at Richmond, organized the system of torpedoes that protected the harbors of Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, and other places, and invented a sub-terra shell, which was successfully used. At the close of the war General Rains resided for some time at Augusta, Georgia, but he afterward removed to Aiken, South Carolina His death resulted from the wounds that he had received in Florida in 1840.--His brother, George Washington, soldier, born in Craven county, North Carolina, in 1817, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1842, and assigned to the corps of engineers, but was transferred to the 4th artillery in 1843, and in 1844-'6 was assistant professor of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology at West Point. He served with credit during the war with Mexico on the staffs of General Winfield Scott, and General Pillow, and was brevetted captain and major for gallantry at Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec. Afterward he served on garrison and recruiting duty and against the Seminole Indians in 1849-'50, and was promoted captain, 14 February, 1856. On 31 October of that year he resigned and became part proprietor and president of the Washington iron-works and the Highland iron-works at Newburg; New York He entered the Confederate army in 1861, was commissioned colonel, and was at once given the task of building and equipping a powder-mill. This he did under great difficulties, and created at Augusta, Georgia, the Confederate powder-works, which were, at the close of the war, among the best in the world. He was promoted brigadier-general before 1865. Since 1867 he has been professor of chemistry and pharmacy in the medical department of the University of Georgia, and he was dean of the faculty till 1884. General Rains has obtained three patents for improvements in steam portable en-tines. He has published a treatise on "Steam Portable Engines" (Newburg, New York, 1860) ; "Rudimentary Course of Analytical and Applied Chemistry" (Augusta, Georgia, 1872) ; "Chemical Qualitative Analysis" (New York, 1879); a pamphlet "History of the Confederate Powder-Works," which he read before the Confederate survivors' association (Augusta, 1882), and numerous essays.-Gabriel James's son, SEWER McCLELAN, soldier, born in 1851, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1876, and killed in the action of Craig's Mountain, Idaho, with hostile Indians, 3 July, 1877.

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