Gholson's career in many respects typified that of the nineteenth-century southern statesman. His rise within the legal profession opened the door to political opportunities throughout his lifetime, and his high standing within the community made him an ideal candidate for a position of military leadership during the war. Gholson was certainly a better general and politician than he was a judge, as he was more committed to the causes of slavery, secession, and the Democratic party than he was to the abstractions of the law.
Timothy S. Huebner, "Gholson, Samuel Jameson," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/11/11-00322.html.
GHOLSON, Samuel Jameson, a Representative from Mississippi; born near Richmond, Madison County, Ky., May 19, 1808; moved with his father to Franklin County, Ala., in 1817; attended the common schools; studied law; was admitted to the bar at Russellville, Ala., in 1829; moved to Athens, Monroe County, Miss., and commenced the practice of law; member of the State house of representatives in 1835, 1836, and 1839; elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-fourth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of David Dickson and served from December 1, 1836, to March 3, 1837; presented credentials as a Democratic Member-elect to the Twenty-fifth Congress and served from July 18, 1837, until February 5, 1838, when the seat was declared vacant; appointed United States district judge in 1839 and served until 1861, when Mississippi seceded from the Union; member of the State secession convention in 1861; during the Civil War served in the Confederate Army as a private, captain, colonel, brigadier general, and major general of State troops; became brigadier general of the Confederate States Army in June 1863, and was placed in command of a brigade of Cavalry; again a member of the State house of representatives in 1865, 1866, and 1878; continued the practice of law in Aberdeen, Miss., until his death there October 16, 1883; interment in Odd Fellows Cemetery.
"Gholson, Samuel Jameson," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to Present, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=G000149.