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 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 a tremendous of cavalry. He left in the back of seven kids, the eldest in simple terms twelve, and a spouse who was once 8 and a part months pregnant. As a box officer in a prestigious unit, the possibilities for repute and glory appeared unlimited. Griffin, besides the fact that, played no bold acts, nor did he encourage nice loyalty in his males. as a substitute, he unknowingly supplied a different and priceless 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. outstanding of their breadth and quantity, the letters surround Griffin's whole Civil battle provider, detailing residing stipulations and armed forces maneuvers, the jockeying for place between officials, and different methods officials and enlisted males interacted throughout the Civil warfare. in contrast to the memories and biographies of high-ranking, famous accomplice officials or stories and edited collections of letters of contributors of the rank and dossier, this assortment sheds mild at the lifetime of a center officer--a lifestyles became the wrong way up by way of severe army hassle and complex additional by way of the continued desire for reassurance approximately own valor and standing universal to males of the southern gentry. In those letters, Griffin describes mystery troop pursuits in numerous army activities similar 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 was once wounded. all through, as Griffin recounts those so much striking of occasions, he illuminates the main usual of daily matters. One could anticipate finding a accomplice officer meditating on slavery, emancipation, or Lincoln. in its place, we're faced by means of basic humanity and straightforward issues, from the elements to gossip. huge old occasions intruded on Griffin's lifestyles and despatched him off to conflict, yet his heartfelt concerns have been approximately his kinfolk, 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 mixture of army and social background, A Gentleman and an Officer strikes from the start of the Civil conflict at fortress Sumter during the finish of the battle and Reconstruction, vividly illustrating how the problems of the Civil battle have been without delay 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
The 1860 slaves were listed generally by age, and did not appear to follow any other groupings. 28 "A Gentleman and an Officer" Physically segregated by seating arrangements, whites and blacks worshipped together in the same building. " In 1843, another slave, Kejiah, went before the church, related her conversion experience, and was baptized. B. Griffin. 's slave Olive joined the church, and in May 1857 Olive's brother, Charles, was received by experience into the church. In August of 1861, both Charles and Olive, "the property of Mr.
In January 1832, the senior "James Griffins [sic] Peter" joined the Antioch congregation. In August of that same year, James Sr. " In September an investigating committee found that Peter and his wife Peggy were guilty, and the church declared nonfellowship with the slaves; in 1839 the couple were restored to church membership. 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.
Griffin grew up in the area served by Antioch Baptist Church. 's neighbors and associates), Red Hill, and Republican churches, which sometimes shared a pastor. B. Griffin's family were all Baptists. Antioch Church had begun as part of the Separatist Baptist movement in 1804, but had reorganized in 1830. In that reorganization, James Sr. B. 34 When his stepmother died in 1852, the paper reported that she had been a member of the Baptist Church for more than twenty-eight years. She had been ill for eighteen days and would not take medicine for the pain.