More Generals in Gray
Pros: well researched, well written, easily read, excellent resource
Cons: none noted
Review: book from my personal library
More Generals in Gray, Bruce S. Allardice, is A Companion Volume, to Ezra J. Warner’s earlier work Generals in Gray. As such this work presents the results of research by Bruce S. Allardice who presents a group of officers more or less historically ignored.
These are the southern Confederacy’s additional generals; men who achieved their rank not through the usual method of appointment by President Jefferson Davis with approval of the Confederate Congress, but often were elevated via other method at the time, and, as a consequence have been all but forgotten.
The 137 men listed in the biographical section begin with Charles W Adams, born in Massachusetts raised in Indiana and moved to Helena, Arkansas in 1838 where he became a lawyer and served as a judge prior to secession from the union of Arkansas and culminates with James Yell major general of Arkansas state forces born in Tennessee self-educated he taught school, moved to Arkansas where he settled in Pine Bluff and became a successful jury lawyer. At the time of the publication of this work he lay in an unmarked grave in Bellwood Cemetery, however when I visited his grave it was marked with a lovely stone through the efforts of southern lineage groups.
The group of men listed in this work included a mixed group of landed, and city dwellers, most educated, 10 born in northern states, and 9 not born in the United States either north or south. Santos Benavides born in Mexico, in what was to become Laredo, Texas proved his ability as a leader of men.
James Boggs, born in Ireland, was an immigrant to Virginia, US, with his parents and siblings where as an adult he became justice of the peace, county sheriff and was elected to local political office prior to the war. Pierre Benjamin Buisson born in France in 1793 was the oldest of the Confederate brigadiers. Buisson fought with Napoleon prior to immigration to New Orleans, Louisiana USA.
Samuel Preston Moore, Surgeon General of the Confederacy was born 1813, South Carolina, served as surgeon during the war with Mexico during which time he caught President Davis’ attention, served as surgeon to various units as well as West Point prior to the War Between the States.
Many of the men noted in Allardice’s work received their commission from President Davis, while some were elevated to the rank during service in state militia. Others were elevated to brigadier during or soon following battle by the Confederate General under which they served, some appear to have been called general by mistake during later years of their lives, whether as an attempt to elevate status, or because they were inspector general and that was confused, or other reason is not always clear. Allardice does note whenever possible the rank, particularly Confederate Army and state militia units proven in history whether in historical tomes, or in other writings.
Nicholas Bartlett Pearce, collateral relative of mine, served in a none to distinguished capacity during a brief period including the battle of Wilson’s Creek, White Oak in Missouri. Gen’l Pearce, while a West Point graduate and colonel in the local Arkansas militia, was a reluctant anti secessionist who unenthusiastically received his rank to general by state authority. Most of his service was chief commissary at the commissary post in Fort Smith serving District of Texas, Indian Territory’s Ft Gibson and western Arkansas, Trans Mississippi region.
Allardice does list Gen’l Pearce’s bonafidies so to speak and they do include a number of historians, two of which contend Pearce’s was a Gen’l Kirby Smith appointment. However Southern Historical Society Papers, SHSP, seem to indicate state authority only.
Thomas Grimke Rhett, South Carolina, West Point graduate commenced military career as 2d lieutenant of ordnance, Washington DC. Active during war with Mexico Rhett was breveted Captain, joined the staff of Gen’l PGT Beauregard soon after receiving commission as major, served on staff Gen’l Joseph E Johnston. Following battle of Seven Pines 1862 Rhett was assigned to Trans Mississippi, was appointed chief of artillery. At the end of the war Rhett refused to remain in America, accepted offer to join army of the Khedive of Egypt and served as colonel of ordnance until 1873. A stroke in 1873 left Rhett paralyzed, he resigned his commission, went to Europe, returned to the US in 1876 and lived in Baltimore, Md until his death, 1878.
Raphael Semmes, Confederate sailor commanded CSS Alabama, took 69 prizes before the Alabama was sunk by USS Kersarge. Promoted to rear Admiral, Semmes commanded James River Squadron. In charge of defense
at Danville, Virginia following fall of Richmond, Semmes was listed as Rear Admiral and as Brigadier when paroled following Army of Virginia was surrendered by Gen’l Lee.
Supplementary Generals leading units in Confederate states included 9 from Alabama, 10 from Arkansas, 7 from N Carolina, 9 from S Carolina, 4 from Florida, 15 from Georgia, 9 from Louisiana, 16 from Mississippi, 11 from Tennessee, 18 from Texas and 13 of the men served from Virginia, while 2 led southern units from Kentucky, 14 led Confederate units from Missouri. Many of these men were well educated, 94 had military experience, others were lawyers, served political offices, 72 of the 137 attended college.
More Generals In Gray, Bruce S Allardice, A Companion Volume to Generals in Gray is a well-researched work dedicated to bringing the lives and actions of a group of officers performing the duties of generals of southern armies in Confederate or state service during the years of the War Between the States. These are men whose names and service has been all but lost and nearly ignored due to lack of evidence regarding formal appointment to the office by President Davis even as literature has recounted the deeds of the more famous leaders about whom whole books have centered.
Allardice in the preface to his work allows that this book contains concise biographical articles recounting the deeds of these officers in an effort that the deeds of these men will not be lost. Allardice outlines that the sketches offered will present a standard body of information for each of the 137 officers included and will present dates and place of birth and death, place of burial, names and occupations of the men’s parents, a likeness of each man, outline of his military career including an evaluation of his claim to the rank of general.
The work does not offer a standard table of contents, it does list Preface ix, Abbreviations xv, Introduction 1, Biographical Sketches 15, appendix 243 and Biography 259. As a student of the period I found the abbreviations to be important and includes not only names of some of the generals, but CV, Confederate Veteran a series of tomes listing the million plus men of the Confederate army, works found in my personal library, as well as OR
denoting the Official Record of the Union and Confederate Armies, 70 volumes available for research in many public libraries, SHSP Southern Historical Society Papers, also found in my personal library available in reprint today in 50+ volumes.
That Allardice has produced a work worthy of note can be deduced from the research and bibliography he lists to support his words that the intention of the book is to sketch the lives of a long neglected group of officers.
Not only does Allardice bring to the fore the lives of these men, but, he explains the methodology of attaining rank during the period including that the process of becoming a general was often filled with lobbying of the man himself, or his friends, men with whom he served, and the like as well as simple accident of time and place with necessity leading to the ranking General brevetting to brigadier, intrigue, politics, simple chance, his service
in state militia with attainment of rank there and carry over to Confederate records, politics, mismanagement.
The 1959, Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray heralded as a benchmark of WBTS erudition, based on laborious standards for qualifying the facts created through his personal in-depth investigation, recognized 425 men having clearly documented service as Confederate generals. Allardice, long active member of the respected Chicago Civil War Roundtable, after undertaking his own research determined that an additional 137 officers can be recognized as Confederate generals.
As a member of a historical lineage group, I find noteworthy that Allardice’s appendix lists yet another 132 contenders whose recognition as having general rank may yet be authenticated through additional research.
Bruce S. Allardice, long a professor of history, South Suburban College near Chicago, has published a number of articles, compositions and essays appearing in periodicals including Civil War History, Civil War Times Illustrated, and North & South as well as authoring Jeff Davis’s Colonels and serving as coauthor of Texas Burial Sites of Civil War Notables.
Well researched, well written, easily understandable by the WBTS buff, historical reader and common reader.
Happy to recommend
Reviewed by: mjhollingshead Tomsdattar
Paperback: 301 pages
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Available paperback, hard cover and eBook reader versions