Jump to Navigation

Henry Clay Pate

Confederate Soldier. Born: April 21, 1833, Bedford County, Virginia. Died: May 11, 1864, Yellow Tavern, Henrico County, Virginia.

Henry Clay Pate was born April 21, 1833, in Bedford County, Virginia. He believed in the proslavery cause and became a border ruffian in the violence of the Bleeding Kansas era. After five proslavery settlers were brutally murdered by John Brown as part of the Pottawatomie Massacre in 1856, Pate set out to capture Brown. He and his men encountered Brown near Palmyra in Douglas County on June 2, 1856. For several hours the two sides engaged in armed combat at what became known as the Battle of Black Jack. Brown and another freestater, Edwin V. Sumner, captured Pate along with some of his troops. The Battle of Black Jack is sometimes called the first battle of the Civil War.

During the Civil War Pate became a Confederate soldier. Pate, along with famous Confederate Major General J.E.B. Stuart, was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern near Richmond, Virginia. In this battle on May 11, 1864, the Major General Philip Sheridan claimed a victory for the Union army, but lost 625 men in the process. They captured nearly 300 Confederates and reclaimed 300 Union soldiers that had been held captive.

Entry: Pate, Henry Clay

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: July 2016

Date Modified: July 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.