I ended up in Wytheville Virginia today, and visited East End Cemetery to see Brigadier-General James A. Walker. Brigadier-General Walker was born in Augusta county on the 27th of August, 1832. After receiving the best elementary education that the schools of the neighborhood afforded, he entered the fourth class at the Virginia military institute in 1848.
Here he remained until the spring of 1852, and was in the graduating class of that year, when he took offense at some remark made to him by Stonewall Jackson (then Professor Jackson), in the lecture room, and a passage of sharp words took place between the two.
Cadet Walker, feeling that he had been publicly insulted and wronged by Professor Jackson, sent him a challenge to fight a duel. It is related of Jackson by one with whom he consulted on the occasion, that, notwithstanding he was a grave professor and the challenger a mere boy, he for a considerable time, debated in his mind the propriety of accepting the challenge, expressing a serious wish that it was possible to do so.
Walker's rebellion in the class-room was a grave offense, at an institution where strict military discipline is maintained; but the sending of a challenge to one of the principal officers and professors was a crime not to be overlooked or forgiven, and though Walker stood high in his class, and was popular with all who knew his honest heart and chivalric qualities, he was court-martialed and dismissed from the institution.
After leaving the institute, Walker accepted a position in the engineer corps, then engaged in locating the line of the Covington & Ohio (now Chesapeake & Ohio) railroad, from the Big Sandy river to Charlestown, and in this rough and unexciting life he spent eighteen months.
He then resigned and returned to his home in Augusta county. Shortly afterward he began to read law in the office of Col. John B. Baldwin, at Staunton. During the session of 1854-55 he took a law course at the university of Virginia, and immediately afterward began to practice his profession at Newbern, Pulaski county, Va. (Continued in Comments)