By Judith N. McArthur
In 1861, James B. Griffin left Edgefield, South Carolina and rode off to Virginia to absorb responsibility 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 searching 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 a massive of cavalry. He left at the back of seven little ones, the eldest simply twelve, and a spouse who used to be 8 and a part months pregnant. As a box officer in a prestigious unit, the possibilities for reputation and glory appeared unlimited. Griffin, besides the fact that, played no bold acts, nor did he motivate nice loyalty in his males. in its place, he unknowingly supplied a different 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 accumulated 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. striking of their breadth and quantity, the letters surround Griffin's whole Civil battle provider, detailing residing stipulations and army maneuvers, the jockeying for place between officials, and the several methods officials and enlisted males interacted in the course of the Civil struggle. not like the recollections and biographies of high-ranking, famous accomplice officials or reviews 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 way of severe army worry and intricate additional by way of the ongoing desire for reassurance approximately own valor and standing universal to males of the southern gentry. In those letters, Griffin describes mystery troop activities in quite a few army activities comparable to the Hampton Legion's function within the Peninsula crusade (details that might 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 was once wounded. all through, as Griffin recounts those such a lot notable of instances, he illuminates the main traditional of daily matters. One could look forward to finding a accomplice officer meditating on slavery, emancipation, or Lincoln. as a substitute, we're faced via uncomplicated humanity and straightforward matters, from the elements to gossip. enormous historic occasions intruded on Griffin's existence and despatched him off to conflict, yet his heartfelt concerns have been approximately his family members, his neighborhood, and his personal own delight. finally, Griffin's letters current the Civil battle because the refinery, the ordeal through hearth, that verified 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 struggle at fortress Sumter throughout the finish of the battle and Reconstruction, vividly illustrating how the problems of the Civil battle have been right away devastatingly nationwide and revealingly neighborhood.
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Additional resources for A Gentleman and an Officer: A Social and Military History of James B. Griffin's Civil War
In March 1850 James Sr. again reported Peter for stealing and lying. Peter admitted his sins to the church and declared himself unfit for church membership; he was expelled. Yet the master's word did not hold absolute sway. Slaves were allowed to defend themselves before the church disciplinary committee; committee members (excluding the slaveowner) were sent to investigate the charges, and the slave's cause was sometimes upheld. For example, in June 1844 James Sr. charged "one of his boys," Bob, as "out of the way" (drunk).
Calhoun in state politics and his national role as a proslavery apologist; the elitist structure of state government. See James M. , The Hofstadter Aegis: A Memorial (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974), 60-93, and Orville Vernon 18 "A Gentleman and an Officer" cally representative of rural South Carolina. The black population was proportional to that in most parts of the state. The majority of the residents, like most South Carolinians, made a living in agriculture, constrained by the shared problems of declining soil productivity, fluctuating crop and slave markets, and competition from the newer cotton lands of Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas.
They became the magistrates, sheriffs, and legislative representatives. Within one generation, this group of backcountry planters rose to wealth and prominence and established the basis of their descendants' claim to aristocracy. The second generation aligned itself through marriage with the coastal South Carolina and Charleston power establishment. Patriciate clans formed interlocking relationships through marriage. Family links, important factors in political alliances and allegiances, often led to leadership in the community and the state.
A Gentleman and an Officer: A Social and Military History of James B. Griffin's Civil War by Judith N. McArthur