By Judith N. McArthur
In 1861, James B. Griffin left Edgefield, South Carolina and rode off to Virginia to take in 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 an incredible of cavalry. He left in the back of seven youngsters, the eldest purely 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 popularity 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 special and priceless portrait of the accomplice officials who shaped the center 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. notable of their breadth and quantity, the letters surround Griffin's complete Civil battle provider, detailing dwelling stipulations and army maneuvers, the jockeying for place between officials, and the several methods officials and enlisted males interacted through the Civil battle. in contrast to the recollections 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 existence became the wrong way up through severe army difficulty and intricate extra through the continued desire for reassurance approximately own valor and standing universal to males of the southern gentry. In those letters, Griffin describes mystery troop events in a variety of army activities equivalent 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 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 notable of instances, he illuminates the main usual 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 by means of uncomplicated humanity and straightforward issues, from the elements to gossip. huge old occasions intruded on Griffin's lifestyles and despatched him off to struggle, yet his heartfelt concerns have been approximately his relatives, his group, and his personal own satisfaction. finally, Griffin's letters current the Civil struggle because the refinery, the ordeal via hearth, that demonstrated 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 struggle at fortress Sumter during the finish of the struggle and Reconstruction, vividly illustrating how the problems of the Civil warfare have been right away devastatingly nationwide and revealingly neighborhood.
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Extra info for A Gentleman and an Officer: A Social and Military History of James B. Griffin's Civil War
These slaves were probably skilled workmen, for the same few names recur. In 1860, for example, he hired out Jim to B. P. 25 a day (Tillman's account was "by settlement in full" in 1864 though in kind, not cash), to Philip Eichelberger two days (paid in cash in 1863), to Bennet Holland for two days (paid in cash that year), to M. B. '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.
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.
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.