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John Buchanan Floyd Jr.

Gov. John Buchanan Floyd Jr.

  • December 31, 1848 - December 31, 1851
  • Democratic
  • May 21, 1806
  • August 25, 1863
  • Virginia
  • College of South Carolina
  • Married Sally Buchanan Preston
  • Cabinet secretary
  • Army


JOHN BUCHANAN FLOYD was born at Smithfield in Blacksburg, Virginia. He graduated from the College of South Carolina in 1826 and began to practice law in 1828. He lived for a time in Arkansas but returned to Virginia, where he continued the practice of law in Washington County. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates at various times between 1847 and 1849 before being elected governor by the state legislature. Floyd then served again briefly in the House of Delegates and became Secretary of War under President James Buchanan in 1857. After being cleared of charges that he had aided the secession movement, he resigned his cabinet post at the outbreak of the Civil War, and was appointed Brigadier General in the Confederate Army in 1861. Relieved of his command when he fell out of favor with Jefferson Davis, he was made a Major General in the Virginia Militia by the state legislature. He died in 1863 as a result of exposure and poor health suffered in military service.


Garraty, John A. and Carnes, Mark C., eds. American National Biography, Vol. 8. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 5. New York: James T. White & Company.

Pinnegar, Charles. Brand of Infamy: A Biography of John Buchanan Floyd. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols

Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. II. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1998.

Virginia Biographical Dictionary, Vol, 1. St. Clair Shores, MI: Somerset Publishers, Inc.

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