Brigadier-General Barnard Elliott Bee was born at Charleston, S.C., in 1824,the son of Col. Barnard E. Bee, who removed to Texas in 1835, and grandson of Thomas Bee, the first Federal judge of the State of South Carolina. He was the brother of Confederate General, Hamilton Prioleau Bee. He was appointed as a cadet-at-large to the United States military academy, and was graduated in 1845, with promotion to brevet second lieutenant, Third infantry. Immediately afterward he served in the military occupation of Texas, and during the war with Mexico participated in the battles of 1846 at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, after which he was on recruiting service with promotion to second lieutenant. In 1847 he took part in the siege of Vera Cruz, and while storming the enemy's entrenched heights at Cerro Gordo, was wounded and earned the brevet of first lieutenant. His gallant record was continued in the conflicts at Contreras, Churubusco, Chapultepec and the City of Mexico, winning for him the rank of brevet captain and a sword of honor from South Carolina, his native State. After the close of this war he served as adjutant of the Third infantry at various army posts on the frontier, until the spring of 1855, with promotion to first lieutenant in 1851, and to captain of the Tenth infantry in 1855.