Lieutenant-Colonel Peter J. Sinclair was born on the Island of Tyree, Argyleshire, Scotland, on March 17, 1837. Most of his boyhood was spent in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he studied law and was licensed to practice. He came to North Carolina and was admitted to the bar in 1858, and edited the North Carolinian, a strong Democratic paper, in Fayetteville. At the outbreak of the war, he volunteered with the Lafayette light infantry, Company F, First North Carolina volunteers, but soon after raised a company in Cumberland county, which was placed in the Fifth North Carolina infantry, Col. D. K. McRae, as Company A. After a few weeks in camp, at Halifax, his regiment went direct to Manassas, in Virginia, and was brigaded under General Longstreet and participated in the first battle of Manassas and in all the movements of the army of Northern Virginia in front of Union Mills and Fairfax Court House, during the first winter of the war. He was promoted to major in March, 1862. His regiment, having been transferred to Early's brigade, went to the peninsula and did constant service in the trenches at Yorktown. On the retreat to the Chicka-hominy, he distinguished himself at the battle of Williamsburg, where his horse was killed under him and he was severely bruised. He was in the battle of Seven Pines and was promoted to be lieutenant-colonel of his regiment in May, 1862; he took part in the battles around Richmond, and was wounded at Cold Harbor, but recovered in time to be with his regiment at Fredericksburg. He resigned his commission in 1863. After peace was established, he resumed the practice of law at Marion, in McDowell county, where he has continued to reside up to the present time, engaged in a large practice in many of the western counties of North Carolina, and has for years been prominent in his profession and in the development of the section where he resides. He is counsel for the Ohio River and Charleston railroad company. Although, like most of his comrades of the Confederate army, he has passed the meridian, he is still active and vigorous and devoted to the duties of a large and successful practice.
Extract from Southern Historical Society Papers (North Carolina Biographies)