Crutchfield was born on June 21, 1835, on the Spotsylvania County plantation of his parents, Oscar Minor Crutchfield, Speaker of the House of Delegates from 1852 to 1861, and Susan Elizabeth M. Gatewood Crutchfield. He matriculated at the Virginia Military Institute in 1851 but was sent home after only a few months for disciplinary reasons. He returned to the institute the next year and graduated first in his class in 1855. For the next six years Crutchfield served on the VMI faculty, first as an assistant and after 1858 as a full professor of mathematics, one highly regarded by his students. While living in Lexington, Crutchfield was confirmed in the Episcopal Church and joined the Franklin Society and Library Company of Lexington, a lending library and debating club.
When the Civil War began in the spring of 1861, Crutchfield remained in Lexington and served for about three months as temporary superintendent of VMI. In this capacity he supervised the shipment to Richmond of 10,000 muskets from the state arsenal located at the school and served as a drillmaster for new units raised in the region. On May 1, 1861, Crutchfield was commissioned a major in Confederate service. Assigned on July 7 to the 9th Virginia Volunteer Regiment, he reported for duty at Craney Island later that month. On October 1, Crutchfield became a major in the 58th Virginia Infantry Regiment, but illness prevented his participation in the autumn campaign in western Virginia. Elected lieutenant colonel of the 58th Virginia early in 1862, he was dropped from the roster when the regiment reorganized on May 1. Two days later he was elected colonel of the 16th Virginia Infantry Regiment but for health reasons declined to serve.
In mid-April 1863 Jackson recommended Crutchfield for promotion to brigadier general, but the request was passed over and Crutchfield remained a colonel. At Chancellorsville he was severely wounded by a shell fragment that shattered a bone in his right leg below the knee. Crutchfield left the battlefield in the same ambulance that carried the mortally wounded Jackson. The leg wound removed Crutchfield from active service for the remainder of 1863. In the autumn of that year the VMI board of visitors elected Crutchfield to fill Jackson's former chair as professor of natural philosophy. He declined the offer of a permanent position but taught on a temporary basis while he recuperated.
June 21, 1835 - Stapleton Crutchfield is born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.
1851 - Stapleton Crutchfield matriculates at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington but is sent home after only a few months for disciplinary reasons.
1852 - Stapleton Crutchfield returns to the Virginia Military Institute after having been sent home for disciplinary reasons.
1855–1857 - Stapleton Crutchfield serves on the faculty of the Virginia Military Institute as an assistant professor of mathematics.
1858–1861 - Stapleton Crutchfield serves on the faculty of the Virginia Military Institute as a full professor of mathematics.
October 1, 1861 - Stapleton Crutchfield becomes a major in the 58th Virginia Infantry Regiment, but illness prevents his participation in the autumn campaign in western Virginia.
November 1862 - Stapleton Crutchfield becomes the commander of artillery for the Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia.
May 2, 1863 - Stapleton Crutchfield is wounded by a shell fragment at the Battle of Chancellorsville.
March 16, 1864 - Stapleton Crutchfield, recovered from a leg wound, is assigned to duty in the Confederate Ordnance Bureau as inspector of seacoast batteries.
April 6, 1865 - Stapleton Crutchfield is killed by an artillery shell at the Battle of Sailor's Creek during the Appomattox Campaign.
- Civil War, American (1861–1865)
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Dozier, G., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Stapleton Crutchfield (1835–1865). (2013, September 23). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Crutchfield_Stapleton_1835-1865.
- MLA Citation:
Dozier, Graham and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "Stapleton Crutchfield (1835–1865)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 23 Sep. 2013. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: February 8, 2010 | Last modified: September 23, 2013
Contributed by Graham Dozier and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. Graham Dozier is managing editor of publications at the Virginia Historical Society.