Stewart, Alexander Peter
(2 Oct. 1821-30 Aug. 1908), soldier, educator, and park commissioner, was born at Rogersville, Tennessee, the son of William Stewart and Elizabeth Decherd. He entered the U.S. Military Academy on 1 July 1838 and in 1842 graduated twelfth in a class of fifty-six. While at West Point, he roomed for two years with future Union general John Pope and for a time with future Confederate general James Longstreet. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Third Artillery and ordered to Fort Macon, North Carolina. After one year's service at the coastal fort, he returned to West Point to become an assistant professor of mathematics. On 31 May 1845 he resigned his commission and in August married Hattie Bryon Chase; they had three children. From 1845 until 1861 he was an academic, holding professorships of mathematics and mental and moral philosophy first at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, and then at Nashville University.
A Whig in politics, he supported John Bell for the presidency in 1860, and although opposed to secession, on 17 May 1861 he was commissioned a major in the Artillery Corps of the Provisional Army of Tennessee.