Bravest of the Brave
The Correspondence of Stephen Dodson Ramseur
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
Series: Civil War America
Title Page, Copyright PAge
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Nearly thirty years have elapsed since I first encountered the Stephen Dodson Ramseur Papers at the Southern Historical Collection in Chapel Hill. I had chosen Ramseur as the subject of my doctoral dissertation, planning to examine his Confederate career as a case study of how able young...
Editorial Method and Letter Sources
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Over 180 letters written by Stephen Dodson Ramseur are known to exist today. Only a handful are official correspondence; the overwhelming majority are personal. They are addressed to family members, principally to his cousin Ellen “Nellie” Richmond, who became his wife, and to his...
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“Whenever you can send them, we shall be more than glad to get your father’s letters. I know there will be much material in them that will be very helpful to students of Confederate History.”1 So wrote D. H. Hill, the general’s son who served as secretary of the North Carolina Historical...
CHAPTER ONE: The Formative Years, 1837–1855
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Born on may 31, 1837, the eldest son of Lucy and Jacob Ramsour,1 Stephen Dodson Ramseur was known throughout his life as “Dod” or “Dodson,” his mother’s maiden name. Dod took a special interest in nurturing his brother, David, who was two years younger. From the frequent, endearing correspondence...
CHAPTER TWO: Wearing the Military Uniform of the United States: The West Point Years and Service as an Army Officer, 1855–1861
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In the years before the civil war, the U.S. Military Academy was the nation’s premier engineering school with a curriculum designed to prepare its graduates to build the river and harbor works, lighthouses, canals, and railroads needed by a burgeoning nation. It also served to prepare topographical...
CHAPTER THREE: Confederate Artillery Officer, 1861–1862
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Upon submitting his resignation from the U.S. Army, Ramseur headed for the capital of the nascent confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama. Before departing Lincolnton, on April 16, 1861, Ramseur applied for a commission in the new Confederate army.1 On the way south, Ramseur...
CHAPTER FOUR: Regimental Commander, April–October 1862
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In the spring of 1862, the counties around Lincolnton raised a unit that was mustered into service as the Forty-ninth North Carolina Infantry. Its members elected Dodson Ramseur as their colonel. Over the next six months, they would fight only once under his command, at Malvern Hill....
CHAPTER FIVE: Brigade Commander (I), November 1862–October 1863
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The wound suffered by Ramseur at the conclusion of the Peninsula campaign was so severe he had to be evacuated to North Carolina, where he remained for much of the remainder of 1862. Meanwhile, the Army of Northern Virginia engaged in two of its famed battles, at Second Manassas...
CHAPTER SIX: Brigade Commander (II), November 1863–May 1864
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The newlyweds spent the next month in the embrace of their families in Milton and Lincolnton, and in the mountains of western North Carolina. Only reluctantly did Ramseur return to military duties. He found that in his absence his brigade engaged in a skirmish on November 7 at Kelly’s Ford,...
CHAPTER SEVEN: Division Commander, May–October 1864
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As fighting progressed during May, Ewell’s precarious health declined. It was said that he could no longer continue to campaign without respite. Early assumed temporary control of Lee’s Second Corps, and Ramseur was selected to succeed him as division commander. Ramseur’s first...
CHAPTER EIGHT: Death and Aftermath
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Sheridan’s mission was to destroy the military value of the Shenandoah Valley to Lee’s army. Early’s orders were to threaten Maryland and Pennsylvania in order to engage the largest possible Federal force—troops who otherwise would be available for Grant’s disposition outside Richmond. So...
APPENDIX: Abbreviated Family Tree of Stephen Dodson Ramseur
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Claiming to know everything about the American Civil War is like being the fastest gun in the West. There’s always someone faster. Gary W. Gallagher and Robert K. Krick, scholars and authors with national reputations, are far quicker draws than I, and were both extremely generous with their...
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Page Count: 344
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: Civil War America
The Civil War America series interprets the field broadly to include biography, military and nonmilitary history, works that explore the immediate background of the conflict, and studies of postbellum topics related to the war. A few diaries, sets of letters, and memoirs that make exceptional contributions to our understanding of the era also will appear as volumes in the series.