Sumner Archibald Cunningham (Sumner Archibald Cunningham)

Sumner Archibald Cunningham

Journalist. Sumner Archibald Cunningham was the founder and editor of the Confederate Veteran magazine which was one of the New South’s most influential monthlies and made Cunningham a central figure in the “Lost Cause” movement of the late nineteenth century. Sumner was raised on a farm in Bedford County, Tennessee. At the outbreak of the Civil War he joined Company B, 41st Tennessee Infantry, CSA and fought at Fort Donelson and was surrendered there. He was sent to Camp Morton in Indianapolis and spent six months as a prisoner of war before being exchanged in mid-1862. He rejoined his regiment in Mississippi and fought at Port Hudson, Yazoo River, Jackson, and Raymond. After the campaign he was incapacitated for a time due to illness. In 1863 he was promoted to sergeant-major and fought in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. After the war Cunningham returned to Shelbyville, Tennessee and worked briefly in the mercantile business. In 1871 he published his “Reminiscences of the Forty-first Tennessee Infantry”. His interest in writing continued and he became a journalist, bought and edited the Shelbyville Commercial (1871), Chattanooga Times (1876), and Cartersville (Georgia) Express (1879). In 1883 he entered the magazine field with “Our Day”, a monthly directed at Southern audiences. By 1885 his various ventures had failed and he joined the Nashville American newspaper as a staff correspondent where he became a popular columnist. In 1893, he began publication of the Confederate Veteran magazine which became the voice of the United Confederate Veterans and later the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Cunningham said: “The ‘Veteran’ has had faults and made mistakes all the while, but its motives and loyalty to the highest principles of life have never varied. It has been courteous and heroic in vindication of truth, softened and strengthened by memories of the hundreds of thousands who went down to death with approving consciences”.  (bio by: Jody  & Lesa Baltz)  Family links:  Parents:  John Washington Campbell Cunningham (1812 – 1855)  Mary Ann Buchanan Cunningham (1820 – 1890)  Children:  Paul Davis Cunningham (1869 – 1901)*  Mary Cunningham (1873 – 1875)*  Siblings:  Joseph Humphrey Cunningham (1838 – 1897)**  Sumner Archibald Cunningham (1843 – 1913)  Martha Adelaide Cunningham Wakefield (1851 – 1934)* *Calculated relationship**Half-sibling

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  • July, 21, 1843
  • USA
  • Bedford County, Tennessee


  • December, 12, 1913
  • USA
  • Nashville, Tennessee


  • Willow Mount Cemetery
  • Shelbyville, Tennessee
  • USA

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