By Judith N. McArthur
In 1861, James B. Griffin left Edgefield, South Carolina and rode off to Virginia to soak up accountability with the accomplice military in a method that befitted a Southern gentleman: on a fine-blooded horse, with slaves to attend on him, trunks, and his favourite looking puppy. He was once thirty-five years previous, a filthy rich planter, and the landlord of sixty-one slaves while he joined Wade Hampton's elite Legion as an incredible of cavalry. He left in the back of seven little ones, 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, notwithstanding, played no bold acts, nor did he encourage nice loyalty in his males. in its place, 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 gathered 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. notable of their breadth and quantity, the letters surround Griffin's whole Civil struggle carrier, detailing dwelling stipulations and armed forces maneuvers, the jockeying for place between officials, and different methods officials and enlisted males interacted in the course of the Civil conflict. in contrast to the recollections and biographies of high-ranking, famous accomplice officials or reviews and edited collections of letters of individuals of the rank and dossier, this assortment sheds gentle at the lifetime of a center officer--a existence grew to become the wrong way up through severe army problem and complex extra via the continued desire for reassurance approximately own valor and standing universal to males of the southern gentry. In those letters, Griffin describes mystery troop hobbies in a number of army activities equivalent to the Hampton Legion's position 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 struggling with 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 occasions, he illuminates the main usual of daily concerns. One could look forward to finding a accomplice officer meditating on slavery, emancipation, or Lincoln. as an alternative, we're faced via easy humanity and easy matters, from the elements to gossip. huge historic occasions intruded on Griffin's lifestyles and despatched him off to battle, yet his heartfelt concerns have been approximately his family members, his group, and his personal own satisfaction. eventually, Griffin's letters current the Civil conflict because the refinery, the ordeal by way of fireplace, that verified and verified--or modified--Southern upperclass values. With a desirable blend of army and social background, A Gentleman and an Officer strikes from the start of the Civil struggle at fortress Sumter throughout the finish of the conflict and Reconstruction, vividly illustrating how the problems of the Civil conflict have been right now devastatingly nationwide and revealingly neighborhood.
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Additional info for A Gentleman and an Officer: A Social and Military History of James B. Griffin's Civil War
1860. "Without Counting the Cost" 25 Table 1-1. , Bureau of the Census, 8th (1860) Census, vol. S. Bureau of the Census, 9th (1870) Census, vol. 1: Population (Washington: Government Printing Office), 60-61. Edgefield Data Base. percent to almost 45 percent between 1800 and 1820. 48 By 1860, 61 percent of the population was African American (see table 1-1). The Slave Community Slaves were an important part of Griffin's world. They outnumbered the whites on his plantation by more than five to one.
Francis Pickens and the Politics of Destruction (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1986). 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.
Without Counting the Cost" 11 birth or as a direct consequence. B. found himself a widower with a nineteen-month-old son. B. remarried quickly. His second courtship took place at Sunnyside, the plantation of Capt. Eugene Brenan Burt about five miles northwest of Edgefield Court House. Captain Burt, himself a widower since the death of his wife, Sarah Dozier, in 1847, was a planter whose slave and property ownership ranked him in the third decile of wealthiest landowners. 17 Griffin was undoubtedly one of numerous suitors calling at Sunnyside, since Captain Burt had five daughters still at home, three of whom were old enough to receive proposals of marriage.
A Gentleman and an Officer: A Social and Military History of James B. Griffin's Civil War by Judith N. McArthur