Rossiter Johnson, ed., "Deas, Zachariah Cantey," The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, vol. 3 (Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904).
DEAS, Zachariah Cantey, soldier, was born in Camden, S.C., Oct. 25, 1819; son of Col. James Sutherland and Morgood (Chesnut) Deas. His father was a state senator of South Carolina. His mother was a sister of James Chesnut, Jr., U.S. senator. In 1836 he removed to Mobile, Ala., and engaged in business. In 1847 he served in the Mexican war, and in 1861 joined the Confederate army as aide-de-camp to Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, and was on his staff during the battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861. He recruited and was elected colonel of the 22d Alabama volunteers. The government having no means of equipping the regiment for service, he purchased 800 Enfleld rifles, paying $28,000 in gold therefor. He was reimbursed in 1862, the government paying him the amount in Confederate bonds. He led the regiment at Shiloh and succeeded during the fight to the command of the brigade. He had two horses shot under him and was severely wounded the second day of the fight. With his regiment he participated in the battles of Munfordville and Salt River, Ky. At Murfreesboro, Tenn., his regiment was engaged the second day of the battle of Stone's River. Dec. 31, 1862-Jan. 3, 1863, and he superseded General Gardner as brigade commander, Dec. 31, 1863. His promotion to the rank of brigadier-general was signed Dec. 13, 1862, before this battle was fought. He led the brigade at Chickamauga, routed Sheridan's division and captured seventeen pieces of artillery. In this engagement the Federal general, W. H. Lytle, was killed, and General Deas lost forty per cent of his brigade. He also led the brigade at Missionary Ridge, Resaca, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Atlanta and Jonesboro. In the engagements in Tennessee in 1865 he was wounded at Franklin and before Nashville, when he succeeded Gen. Edward Johnston in the command of a division. On the last day of this battle he had in his brigade only 244 men, although he left Dalton 2075 strong and had received 300 recruits. When the retreat was ordered his division numbered only 750 men. With these men he opposed Sherman's march through South Carolina, and when he reached Raleigh, N.C., he fell sick and was obliged to resign. After the war he lived in New York city, where he died, March 6, 1882.