An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Polk, Leonidas

(Apr. 10, 1806-June 14, 1864). Bishop and Confederate general. He was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 1821 he matriculated at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 1823 he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1827. He then studied at Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained deacon on Apr. 11, 1830. As a deacon he was an assistant minister at Monumental Church, Richmond, Virginia. Polk was ordained priest on May 22, 1831. After traveling in Europe, he settled on a plantation in Tennessee. In 1834 he became the rector of St. Peter's Church, Columbia, Tennessee. On Dec. 8, 1838, he was consecrated Missionary Bishop of Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Polk served in that capacity until he was elected the Bishop of Louisiana on Oct. 16, 1841. On June 25, 1861, he was commissioned a Major General in the Confederate Army. He became known as “the fighting Bishop.” Polk, Bishop James Hervey Otey and Bishop Stephen Elliott were the founders of the University of the South. Polk laid the cornerstone of the University on Oct. 9, 1860. He was the second chancellor of the University, and served from Apr. 23, 1863-June 14, 1864. Polk was killed in battle during the Civil War at Pine Mountain, Georgia.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.