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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FL0YD, John, statesman, born in Jefferson County, Virginia, in 1770; died at Sweet Springs, Va., 16 August 1837. He served in congress from Virginia from 1817 till 1829, as a state's rights Democrat; in 1829'34 he was governor of Virginia. He was a personal friend of Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson, but became incensed by the proclamation of the latter against the nullification of South Carolina, and opposed him for his second term. South Carolina voted for Mr. Floyd for the presidency in 1832. He married Letitia, sister of General Frank Preston, of Virginia.
Their son, John Buchanan Floyd, statesman, born in Blacksburg, Virginia, 1 June 1807; died near Abingdon, Virginia, 26 August 1863. He was graduated at the College of South Carolina in 1826, removed to Arkansas in 1836, and resided there three years, when he returned to Virginia and practiced law in Washington County. He served in the state legislature in 1847'9 and 1853, and was governor of Virginia in 1850'3. He was a member of the Electoral College in 1856, and a supporter of James Buchanan for the presidency, who appointed him secretary of war. He held this office from 1857 till the autumn of 1860, when, having declared for secession, he resigned, and returned to his home in Abingdon, Virginia.
In the winter of 1861 he was indicted in Washington, on the charge of having secretly, during the latter portion of his administration of the war department, prepared the means to aid secession leaders, dispersed the army into remote parts of the country, where the troops could not readily be conveyed to the Atlantic coast, and transferred from northern to southern arsenals 113,000 muskets; and that he was privy to the abstraction of $870,000 in bonds from the department of the interior during the latter part of 1860. Immediately on learning of these charges, Mr. Floyd went to Washington, appeared before the court, gave bail, and demanded trial.
In January 1861, a committee of the House of Representatives made an investigation, and completely exonerated Mr. Floyd from each charge of the indictment. In 1861 he was appointed brigadier general in the Confederate army, and was engaged at the battle of Carnifex Ferry, 10 September 1861. At the battle of Fort Donelson, 16 February 1862, he reached the field when the engagement had begun, and found the position untenable and the Confederate army in a cul de sac from which nothing but the hardest fighting could extricate it. He gave orders to that effect, and, after two days' heavy fighting, succeeded in opening a way for the extrication of his troops by a movement to his left. Afterward General Pillow ordered back the main body of the Confederate army that was under his command to its original position, leaving General Floyd's troops without support on the ground they had gained, whereupon he retreated, with little comparative loss to his own command. Two weeks afterward General Floyd was censured by Mr. Davis for this act, and relieved from command.
His wife, Sally Buchanan, born near Abingdon, Virginia, 14 February 1802; died there, 7 May 1879. She was the third daughter of General Frank Preston, of Abingdon, granddaughter of General William Campbell, who commanded at King's Mountain, and niece of Patrick Henry. Her brothers were William C. Preston, senator, and General John S. Preston, of South Carolina. General and Mrs. Floyd had no children, but adopted two orphan relatives John Preston Johnson, an artillery officer of the United States army, who was killed at Contreras in the Mexican war, and Eliza, his sister, who married Judge Robert Hughes, of the United States district court, of Norfolk, Va.
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