The Poet Laureate of the Confederacy. Henry Timrod, one of four children of William Henry and Thyrza Prince Timrod, was born December 8, 1829, in Charleston, South Carolina.  He received his early education in Charleston and attended Franklin College (now part of the University of Georgia).  Poor health forced Timrod to return home before completing his degree.  In Charleston, he studied law in the office of James L. Petigru and pursued his writing in the company of  William Gilmore Simms. Timrod focused more on poetry than on law, and he soon left Petigru’s office to write and to prepare himself for a college teaching position.  Unable to get a professorship, Timrod became a tutor and continued to write and publish the poetry that prompted Alfred, Lord Tennyson to dub him “The Poet Laureate of the Confederacy.“ 

Timrod enlisted in the Confederate army, but poor health prevented him from serving for long.  Later, he tried again to support the Southern cause as a war correspondent for the Charleston Mercury, but once again, his health interfered.  He returned to South Carolina after the Battle of Shiloh and moved to Columbia to assume a position with The South Carolinian, an established newspaper.


In early 1864, Timrod married Katie Godwin, and in December of that year their son Willie was born.  The 1865 occupation of Columbia by Sherman‘s troops destroyed the offices of The South Carolinian and impoverished the family. Timrod worked briefly as a correspondent for The Carolinian, a fledgling Charleston based newspaper, but received no compensation before that paper folded. On October 23, 1865, young William died, and on October 6, 1867, Timrod himself died. Both are buried in Trinity Episcopal Churchyard in Columbia.