Beale, Richard Lee Turberville

Life Span
Dickinson Connection
Class 1838
    Full name
    Richard Lee Turberville Beale
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    No. of Spouses
    Robert Beale (father), Martha Turberville (mother), Lucy Brown (wife)
    Dickinson (Carlisle College)
    University of Virginia
    Attorney or Judge
    Political Parties
    US House of Representatives
    State legislature
    Confederate Army

    Richard Beale (Dickinson Chronicles)

    Richard Lee Turberville Beale was born in Hickory Hill, Virginia on May 22, 1819 to Robert and Martha Turberville Beale, a prominent Westmoreland County family.  He entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with the class of 1838 and was elected to the Union Philosophical Society. He retired from the College and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia.  He was admitted to the bar in 1839 and started a practice in his home county.

    Beale also entered the realm of politics. He was elected as a Democrat to a term in the Thirtieth United States Congress in 1847, was a member of the 1851 Virginia constitutional convention, and served as a Virginia state senator from 1858 to 1860.  Soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, in May, 1861, he was commissioned a lieutenant of cavalry in Lee's Light Horse, a provisional unit which was later organized into the 9th Virginia Cavalry, known as "Lee's Legion," rising to the rank of major by October.  In 1862, he was named lieutenant colonel of the 9th Virginia and served in all the cavalry battles of the Army of Northern Virginia including Fredericksburg and the forays into Pennsylvania that led to Gettysburg. He remarked in his memoirs with affection seeing his old College during the brief occupation of Carlisle.  He later led his regiment but was wounded in a skirmish in September, 1863 and spent three months on convalescent leave.  He returned to duty in January 1864, and soon took command of his brigade and was named a brigadier general.  Official confirmation of his rank came in January, 1865. Ironically, Beale never was a "comfortable" soldier; throughout the war he bridled against the pettiness and administration of regular army life and threatened resignation on a routine basis. He offered once to command guerillas or even revert to the rank of private. His superiors always persuaded him to remain at his post and he developed by the end of the war into an outstanding commander of cavalry.

    Following the war he went home to Hague, Virginia to practice law and involving himself in editing and local politics. He once again served in the United States Congress, being elected as a Democrat to finish the term of fellow Virginia cavalryman, Beverly B. Douglas, who had died in office. He was reelected to a full term in the next Congress and served from 1879 to 1881.  He returned to his practice and the writing of a history of the Ninth Virginia. Before the war, he had married Lucy Brown. Richard Lee Turberville Beale died in Westmoreland County on April 18, 1893 and was buried in the family plot at Hickory Hill. He was seventy-three years old.
    John Osborne and James W. Gerencser, eds., “Richard Lee Turberville Beale,” Dickinson Chronicles,

    Richard Beale (Congressional Biographical Directory)

    BEALE, Richard Lee Turberville, a Representative from Virginia; born in Hickory Hill, Westmoreland County, Va., May 22, 1819; attended private schools in Westmoreland County, Northumberland Academy and Rappahannock Academy, Virginia, and Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa.; studied law; was graduated from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1837; was admitted to the bar in 1839 and commenced practice at Hague, Westmoreland County, Va.; elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth Congress (March 4, 1847-March 3, 1849); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1848; member of the Virginia constitutional convention in 1850-1851; member of the State senate 1858-1860; during the Civil War rose through a series of promotions from lieutenant to brigadier general in the Confederate Army; elected to the Forty-fifth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Beverly B. Douglas; reelected to the Forty-sixth Congress and served from January 23, 1879, to March 3, 1881; resumed the practice of law; died near Hague, Westmoreland County April 21, 1893; interment in Hickory Hill Cemetery.
    "Beale, Richard Lee Turberville," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,
    How to Cite This Page: "Beale, Richard Lee Turberville," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,