ALS of Confederate General Richard Griffith – Written 3 Months before being Mortally Wounded during the Battle of Savage’s Station – “OUR ALL IS ENLISTED AND OUR MOTTO SHOULD BE NOTHING BUT VICTORY OR DEATH. YOU MAY LIVE TO MOURN MY LOSS – NEVER MY DISGRACE -AN UNSTAINED HERITAGE I HOPE TO LEAVE MY FAMILY.
Having owned several General Griffith letters, this is the one we kept in our collection. The letter is three 8 x 10-inch pages written in beautiful penmanship. Autographs of the Confederacy lists Griffith as “A Rare Signature”. The letter is headed, “Near Rapidan Station, Va. Hd. Qrs. 7th Brigade – Division, A. of P. In the Field, Mch. 21st, 1862.” Here is the content:
- My dear wife: Once more the privilege is allowed me of scribbling a few lines hastily on the march, SURROUNDED BY NUMEROUS TROOPS AND IN THE MIDST OF OFFICIAL ENGAGEMENTS, AND THE RICHMOND HOWITZERS, A PART OF MY COMMAND, SERENADING ME WITH BEAUTIFUL AND ENLIVENING SONGS – THIS IN THE RAIN.
- Well, such is camp life – hardships blended with pleasures. Today, dear wife, I was made happy again with some of your dear letters -the first since I left Leesburg, more than two weeks ago. This was no fault of yours for I am sure you have regularly written. But the derangement of the mails was a necessary consequence of our retrograde movement.
- This day week ago I wrote you from Culpepper C. H. where my command remained several days. We reached this camping ground yesterday, after a most tedious, tiresome and annoying march through rain and mud – pitching our tents in very wet ground.
- For more than a week past I have been compelled to take command of a division. This was more than I had bargained for when I entered the service, not deeming myself at that time qualified for more than the command of my regiment. This division command however can be but temporary, as Gen. Hill is nearly well again, and I trust will be able to take the field once more in a few days and relieve me – a Brigade being as much as I am willing to undertake.
- Glad to hear you received the draft for $400.00 as I much feared it would miscarry and fail to reach you. Sometime before I sent you that I had written to my good friend Stewart a long letter and enclosed a draft for $103.00 for my credit. That he should have received before you got mine of the 21st February. The draft was one of our own house on the Merchants Bank New Orleans. If he has not received it I will write him again & explain, so that the check may not be improperly paid by the bank.
- I am now pleased, dear wife, that [you] did not accept my invitation to visit Leesburg. However, in a subsequent letter, anticipating our retiring from the Potomac, I had directed [you] not to come beyond Charlottesville: but now it is questionable whether you could come through at all. Happy as I would be to meet you, I cannot advise you to come on at present, and much fear that all intercourse may be interrupted ere long.
- However, I still hope for the best, and am not at all discouraged by our late disastrous reverses. Much and hard fighting has to be done, and A GREAT DEAL OF THE BEST BLOOD OF OUR COUNTRY SHED ERE OUR INDEPENDENCE IS ACHIEVED.
- AS TO THE FINAL RESULT OF THIS CONTEST, NO DOUBT SHOULD BE HARBORED IN ANY SOUTHERN MIND, ALTHOUGH OUR CHILDREN MAY HAVE TO AID IN ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT.
- YOUR PATRIOTIC SPIRIT, DEAR WIFE, ANIMATES AND CHEERS ME IN THIS STRUGGLE, AND YOU MAY REST ASSURED THAT MY COMMAND WILL DO ITS WHOLE DUTY.
- Tell Ma she must throw aside her desponding sadness and URGE HER SONS ON TO THE FIELD OF BATTLE. THIS IS NO TIME FOR ANY HEARTY MAN TO BE LAGGING BEHIND.
- OUR ALL IS ENLISTED AND OUR MOTTO SHOULD BE NOTHING BUT VICTORY OR DEATH. YOU MAY LIVE TO MOURN MY LOSS – NEVER MY DISGRACE -AN UNSTAINED HERITAGE I HOPE TO LEAVE MY FAMILY.
- But enough of this for present. From Cephas I have had two letters recently while on the march. From his reports to me, he is evidently very unpleasantly situated, but he writes with a manly spirit in the service of his country, and I will soon have him relieved from his disagreeable position.
- How long we may remain here I cannot now say and don’t think it is fully determined yet as to whether the Rapidan and Rappahannock will be line of defense. For the past two weeks I have been living in a tent, but tomorrow will quarter in a house that I have today had engaged.
- You may address me till further advised “Orange C. H. Va.” This I send by my A. A. Genl., Major Inge, to whom I have granted absence for 30 days. My turn may come after while. Excuse brevity & great haste. Write me often as you can. You may expect to hear from me occasionally. Give my love to all, & may God in his mercy protect and bring us together. Your affec. husband, R. Griffith
#L3-21-62 – Price $995