By Judith N. McArthur
In 1861, James B. Griffin left Edgefield, South Carolina and rode off to Virginia to take in accountability with the accomplice military in a mode that befitted a Southern gentleman: on a fine-blooded horse, with slaves to attend on him, trunks, and his favourite searching puppy. He used to be thirty-five years outdated, a prosperous planter, and the landlord of sixty-one slaves while he joined Wade Hampton's elite Legion as a massive of cavalry. He left in the back of seven youngsters, the eldest basically twelve, and a spouse who was once 8 and a part months pregnant. As a box officer in a prestigious unit, the possibilities for status and glory appeared unlimited. Griffin, besides the fact that, played no bold acts, nor did he motivate nice loyalty in his males. as an alternative, he unknowingly supplied a special and beneficial portrait of the accomplice officials who shaped the middle of Southern political, army, and company management. In A Gentleman and an Officer, Judith N. McArthur and Orville Vernon Burton have accrued 80 of Griffin's letters written on the Virginia entrance, and through later postings at the South Carolina coast, to his spouse Leila Burt Griffin. outstanding of their breadth and quantity, the letters surround Griffin's whole Civil warfare provider, detailing residing stipulations and armed forces maneuvers, the jockeying for place between officials, and the several methods officials and enlisted males interacted through the Civil battle. in contrast to the memories and biographies of high-ranking, recognized accomplice officials or stories and edited collections of letters of contributors of the rank and dossier, this assortment sheds gentle at the lifetime of a center officer--a lifestyles became the other way up by means of severe army problem and complex extra via the ongoing want for reassurance approximately own valor and standing universal to males of the southern gentry. In those letters, Griffin describes mystery troop activities in a variety of army activities corresponding to the Hampton Legion's function within the Peninsula crusade (details that may definitely were censored in additional fresh wars). right here he relates the march from Manassas to Fredricksburg, the siege of Yorktown and the retreat to Richmond, and the combating at Eltham's touchdown and 7 Pines, the place Griffin commanded the legion after Hampton used to be wounded. all through, as Griffin recounts those so much amazing of instances, he illuminates the main traditional of day by day concerns. One may possibly anticipate finding a accomplice officer meditating on slavery, emancipation, or Lincoln. as a substitute, we're faced via easy humanity and easy matters, from the elements to gossip. enormous ancient occasions intruded on Griffin's lifestyles and despatched him off to battle, yet his heartfelt concerns have been approximately his kin, his neighborhood, and his personal own delight. eventually, Griffin's letters current the Civil battle because the refinery, the ordeal via hearth, that proven and verified--or modified--Southern upperclass values. With a desirable mix of army and social heritage, A Gentleman and an Officer strikes from the start of the Civil warfare at citadel Sumter throughout the finish of the conflict and Reconstruction, vividly illustrating how the problems of the Civil warfare have been without delay devastatingly nationwide and revealingly neighborhood.
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Extra resources for A Gentleman and an Officer: A Social and Military History of James B. Griffin's Civil War
63. His father ranked 73rd of the wealthiest people in Edgefield. Benjamin Nicholson, notebook, 41, Hughes Papers, SHC. On the Edgefield elite and social classes see Burton, In My Father's House Are Many Mansions, 47-79. "Without Counting the Cost" 33 American Revolution. Committed to farming and the acquisition of slaves and land even before cotton planting spread to the upcountry, most amassed their early fortunes in land speculation, surveying, merchandising, and trading with Native Americans.
S slaves shod two of S. B. Ryan's horses. In 1860 52. In May 1851 the Edgefield Advertiser noted that Antioch Baptist's new church had a large gallery for slaves. 's sister inherited Kejiah from her father James Griffin. , Sept. 1832, Sept. 1838, Feb. 1839, April 1843, June and July 1844, March 1850, Sept. 1856, May 1857, May and Aug. 1861. 53. Currency was highly inflated in 1863. S. 25 a day for nine days in February and two days in June. In March he hired Smith to Daniel Holland for four days, and immediately afterward for three days to neighbor Benjamin F.
All the Hampton Legion field officers and all but two of the initial company commanders were college graduates. Butler, Conner, Hampton, and others graduated from South Carolina College. Gary had attended South Carolina College but was expelled along with others in the junior class for rebelling against an unpopular teacher. He graduated from Harvard in 1854. While Edgefieldian James Henry Hammond was governor, the South Carolina Military College (the Citadel) was founded to prepare young men from good families for military leadership.