Edward Porter Alexander was born in Washington, Georgia on May 6, 1835.
After his graduation from the U.S.M.A. in 1857, he was assigned to the Corp of Engineers.
Alexander assisted the U.S. Army's first Chief Signal Officer, Major A. J. Myer, in developing the "wig-wag" system for sending signals with flags.
This system was used by both sides throughout the Civil War.
The beginning of the Civil War found Alexander serving as a Lieutenant of Engineers at Fort Steilacoom, in the Washington Territory.
After resigning his U.S. commission and returning east (via New York City), Alexander was commissioned a Captain of Engineers in the Confederate Army and ordered to establish a factory in Richmond for the production of signal equipment.
He soon recieved new orders to take command of a battalion of artillery then being formed, but just prior to the Battle of 1st Bull Run he was again reassigned, this time to signal duty with the army at Manassas.
After 1st Bull Run, Alexander was appointed as the army's Chief of Ordnance by Gen. Joseph Johnson, and some time after Gen. R. E. Lee assumed command of the army in 1862, Alexander was finally given command of an artillery battalion.
At Gettysburg, he directed the cannonade that preceded Pickett's Charge. See Battle of Gettysburg Information.
Alexander was later promoted to Brigadier General, and served with distinction through Appomattox.
After the war he became a professor at the University of South Carolina, and was president of several railroad companies.
Alexander died on April 28, 1910.
Image from the National Archives.