John Anthony Quitman, an American politician, born in Rhinebeck, Dutchess co., N. Y., Sept. 1, 1799, died in Natchez, Miss., July 17, 1858. He studied law in Ohio, and in 1821 settled in Natchez, Miss. In 1827 he was elected to the legislature, from 1828 to 1834 was chancellor of the state, and afterward president of the state senate. In 1836 he raised a small body of men to aid the Texans, and after the capture of Santa Anna returned to Natchez, where he became major general of militia and filled several local offices. In July, 1846, he was appointed brigadier general in the United States army, and ordered to report to Gen. Taylor at Camargo. At the battle of Monterey he distinguished himself by his successful assault on Fort Tenerice, and his daring advance into the heart of the city. At the siege of Vera Cruz he commanded in the first sharp engagement, and subsequently led an expedition against Alvarado, in conjunction with the naval forces under Com. Perry. He was with the advance under Gen. Worth that took possession of the city of Puebla, where he was brevetted major general and received a sword voted to him by congress.
At Chapultepec he stormed the formidable works at the base of the hill, pushed forward to the Belen gate, which he carried by assault, and took possession of the city of Mexico, of which the general-in-chief on his arrival appointed him governor. After establishing order and discipline he returned to the United States, and was soon after, almost by acclamation, elected governor of Mississippi. Being threatened with arrest for alleged complicity with Gen. Lopez in organizing an expedition to Cuba, he resigned his office and went to New Orleans in the custody of the United States marshal; but after an abortive effort to obtain evidence, the prosecution was abandoned. The democratic party in Mississippi immediately renominated him for governor, but he withdrew from the contest when the people, at an election for delegates to a state convention, condemned his opposition to the compromise measures. In 1855 he was elected to congress, and in 1857 reŽlected without opposition. During his whole term he was at the head of the military committee. His parliamentary fame rests chiefly on his celebrated speech for the repeal of the neutrality laws, and his argument on the powers of the federal government, which made him the recognized head of the state rights party.