Fighting for General Lee


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A remarkable biography of a Confederate brigadier general’s experiences during—and after—the Civil War: “Well-written and deeply researched” (Eric J. Wittenberg, author of Out Flew the Sabers).
Rufus Barringer fought on horseback through most of the Civil War with General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, and rose to lead the North Carolina Cavalry Brigade in some of the war’s most difficult combats. This book details his entire history for the first time.
Barringer raised a company early in the war and fought with the 1st North Carolina Cavalry from the Virginia peninsula through Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. He was severely wounded at Brandy Station, and as a result missed the remainder of the Gettysburg Campaign, returning to his regiment in mid-October, 1863.
Within three months he was a lieutenant colonel, and by June 1864 a brigadier general in command of the North Carolina Brigade, which fought the rest of the war with Lee and was nearly destroyed during the retreat from Richmond in 1865. The captured Barringer met President Lincoln at City Point; endured prison; and after the war did everything he could to convince North Carolinians to accept Reconstruction and heal the wounds of war.
Drawing upon a wide array of newspapers, diaries, letters, and previously unpublished family documents and photographs, as well as other firsthand accounts, this is an in-depth, colorful, and balanced portrait of an overlooked Southern cavalry commander. It is easy today to paint all who wore Confederate gray with a broad brush because they fought on the side to preserve slavery—but this biography reveals a man who wielded the sword and then promptly sheathed it to follow a bolder vision, proving to be a champion of newly freed slaves—a Southern gentleman decades ahead of his time.

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