660 History of Wake Forest College
are William Hayes Cheek, Richard Gaines, John G. Jones, and
Thomas Fentress Toon.5
The first of these, William Hayes Cheek, of Warren County, was at
the College, 1846-50. Afterwards from 1850-61, he was a lawyer in
Warrenton. At the opening of the War he became Captain of
Company E, First North Carolina Cavalry. In the General Catalogue
is the following notation under his name: "Mar. 31, '65. Brig. Gen., C.
S. A. (Promoted for gallantry in action)." Cheek has this to say about
it in his account of the Ninth Regiment in North Carolina Regiments,
"So the appointment rested until after the 31st of March, 1865,
when General Lee recommended that the commission be issued for
special gallantry on the bloody field of Chamberlain's Run. If ever it
was issued by the Secretary of War it never reached its owner, but
was lost amid the wrecks and ruins of the Confederacy. Some of his
friends think he is entitled to the rank and kindly call him General, but
he aspires not to the title, preferring rather to be known as the colonel
of a regiment which under his command, from the summer of 1863 to
the Surrender, made a reputation second to none on the American
The next named as Brigadier General in the General Catalogue is
John G. Jones of Person County. He was at first Captain of Company
E, 35th North Carolina. On the reorganization of the regiment in 1862
he was elected Major and soon advanced to
5 Chief Justice Walter Clark, in the North Carolina Regiments, V, 652, Note,
credits Wake Forest College with only one Brigadier General, Toon. As somewhat
of an apology for having no account from the colleges of the States in the War,
along with the excellent account of the University of North Carolina by Dr. K. P.
Battle, he says:
"Our other Colleges of that date, Davidson, Trinity and Wake Forest, contributed
many valuable officers and men to the war, but probably not as great a percentage
as a larger proportion of their alumni were educated for the ministry. Wake Forest
produced one Brigadier General, the late General Thomas F. Toon."
It may be said that the pages of the North Carolina Regiments name no other. In
the text are named four, and the reason for assigning each that rank is given.
6 In the North Carolina Regiments is an account of the Ninth Regiment by
Brigadier General Rufus Barringer, which fully justifies the statement made in the
text. Colonel Cheek was one of the best cavalry officers of the War.