Preston, John Smith, 1809–81, Confederate general in the American Civil War, b. near Abingdon, Va. He practiced law at Abingdon and Columbia, S.C., but made his fortune operating a Louisiana sugar plantation. Preston, an ardent advocate of states' rights in the South Carolina senate (1848–56), strongly supported secession. In the Civil War he first served as an aide to General Beauregard and later (1863–65) headed the bureau of conscription at Richmond, being promoted to brigadier general in 1864. He went to England after the war, and although he returned in 1868, he remained a defender of the Confederacy until the end.