Seddon, James Alexander

A former congressman from Virginia, Seddon served as Confederate Secretary of War for most of the conflict. Dickinsonian Littleton Washington also served inside the Jefferson Davis administration during the war years in Richmond.
Life Span
    Full name
    James Alexander Seddon
    Place of Birth
    Birth Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Slave State
    No. of Spouses
    No. of Children
    Thomas Seddon (father), Susan Pearson (mother), Sarah Bruce (wife)
    University of Virginia
    Attorney or Judge
    Relation to Slavery
    Political Parties
    Confederate government (1861-65)
    US House of Representatives

    James Alexander Seddon, Career and Character (American National Biography)

    A Virginia aristocrat and fascinating conversationalist, Seddon was a man of dedication and will. He left his mark on southern history. Lee and Seddon were President Davis's most trusted military advisers, and the three men worked closely together. A former secretary of war during the administration of President Franklin Pierce, Davis controlled the southern armies and took a strong interest in the conduct of the War Department, scrutinizing Seddon's activities more than those of other cabinet officials. Seddon never publicly criticized this vigilance and always deferred to his superior. Still Seddon's influence with Davis was apparent. Seddon viewed the Civil War in large terms, emerging as a Confederate nationalist rather than as a proponent of narrow states' rights. Along with Judah P. Benjamin and Stephen R. Mallory, Seddon was one of the ablest men in Davis's cabinet.
    Leonard Schlup, "Seddon, James Alexander," American National Biography Online, February 2000,

    James Alexander Seddon (Congressional Biographical Directory)

    SEDDON, James Alexander, a Representative from Virginia; born in Falmouth, Va., July 13, 1815; studied under private tutors and was graduated from the law department of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville in 1835; was admitted to the bar about 1838 and commenced practice in Richmond, Va.; elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-ninth Congress (March 4, 1845-March 3, 1847); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1846; elected to the Thirty-first Congress (March 4, 1849-March 3, 1851); declined to be a candidate for renomination; member of the peace convention held in Washington, D.C., in 1861 in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war; delegate from Virginia to the Provisional Confederate Congress at Richmond, Va., in July 1861; appointed Secretary of War in the Cabinet of the Confederate States on November 20, 1862; retired in January 1865; died at “Sabot Hill,” Goochland County, Va., August 19, 1880; interment in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Va.
    “Seddon, James Alexander,” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present,
    How to Cite This Page: "Seddon, James Alexander," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,