|© Virginia Military Institute|
Born in Lynchburg, Virginia on December 16, 1830, the grandnephew of President James Madison graduated near the top of his class from the Virginia Military Institute and completed law school at the University of Virginia by age 20. He later founded the Lynchburg Home Guard, which, in the spring of 1861, merged with the 11th Virginia Infantry when the War Between the States commenced.
Garland was commissioned as the regiment's Colonel and participated in clashes throughout northern Virginia, including both battles at Bull Run. Having already distinguished himself by the time he earned promotion to Brigadier General, it was perhaps the untimely deaths of his wife and infant son, just three months apart, by which it was said his reputation for courage under fire resulted from an inability to deal with his grief.
Garland was mortally wounded at the Battle of South Mountain in Washington County, Maryland. Although Union soldiers dumped the lifeless bodies of 60 Confederate soldiers down a famer's well after the battle, General Garland's body was retrieved by federal troops, whereby Major General George B. McClellan, USA, ordered an honor guard to accompany the young Southern General's body until his remains could be honorably transported home.
A mere 31-years-old at the time of his death, Samuel Garland, Jr. was buried at the Presbyterian Cemetery in his hometown on September 19, 1862 next to his wife and infant son. Memorialized in his official report, Lt. General Daniel Harvey Hill, CSA, stated "This brilliant service. . . cost us the life of that pure, gallant, and accomplished Christian soldier, General Garland, who had no superiors and few equals in the service."