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John Buchanan Floyd


FLOYD, JOHN BUCHANAN American politician, was born at Blacksburg, Va., on June 1, 1807. He was the son of John Floyd (17 70-183 7 ), governor of Virginia, 1830 34. In 1826 he graduated from South Carolina college, after which he practised law in Virginia and in Helena, Ark. He was a representative in the Virginia legislature, 1847-49, and governor of Virginia, 1849-52; afterwards he was again returned to the State legislature. In 1857 President Buchanan appointed him secretary of war.

When Maj. Anderson on Dec. 26, 186o, transferred his forces in Charleston harbour from Ft. Moultrie to Ft. Sumter, the move that resulted in the outbreak of hostilities in the Civil War, Floyd claimed that the act was contrary to his orders. When the presi dent and a majority of his cabinet upheld and defended Ander son's move Floyd resigned and returned to his Virginia home, becoming a secessionist in his sympathies. A few days previous to his resignation President Buchanan had requested a resignation because of certain financial irregularities in Floyd's department due to extremely careless administration. Whether the request had reached Floyd at the time he resigned and the Ft. Sumter incident merely furnished him with a pretext for a more honour able exit is not known. Charges made later that he had made use of his office to furnish arms to the South in anticipation of war were disproved by an investigating committee of the House of Representatives in Jan. 1861. Floyd was commissioned a brigadier-general in the Confederate service and employed first in operations in western Virginia. In Feb. 1862, he became com mander of the Confederate forces at Ft. Donaldson. When re sistance seemed useless he escaped with part of his forces, leaving Gen. S. B. Buckner to surrender to Grant. For this President Davis relieved him of his command. He died at Abingdon, Va., on Aug. 26, 1863.

See P. G. Auchampaugh, James Buchanan and his Cabinet on the Eve of Secession (1926) ; J. F. Rhodes, History of the United States, 1850-77, vol. iii. ; R. M. Hughes, "Floyd's Resignation from Buchanan's Cabinet," Tyler's Quarterly, vol. v. (1923) .

virginia, ft and president