Sheridan R. Barringer
Savas Beatie, 2016, 304 pgs, $32.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
If there is one thing which I have loved while reviewing Civil War books, it is learning about people I had no idea about. Fighting for General Lee is one of those books. I had never heard of Rufus Barringer until I began to see the press for this release. I was intrigued about the man and instead of running to research him myself, I waited to read this book. What this book offers is what the Civil War world needs now: something different. After reading this book, I am more informed and interested about not only Rufus Barringer, but those around him who affected his life.
The author, Sheridan R. Barringer is a descendent of Rufus Barringer and this is his first book. He graduated from Virginia Tech and was a mechanical engineer and project manager with NASA, with whom he worked forty years with. His interests in the Civil War are mainly with the Cavalry, and physics and cosmology. He has two other works coming soon, one on General Thomas Rosse and an edited memoir written by Rosser. He is also working on a biography of Colonel Thomas. T. Munford.
As I said in the introduction, I love reading books about people which I do not know about. Some of the stories seem so incredible that I am surprised they have not been written about before. This biography of Barringer has such moments. When Rufus Barringer entered the world of politics, I was not surprised to see that North Carolina was heavily divided, but I was interested to know that his progressive political nature helped to create some interesting policies during his tenure while serving the state before the war. As the narrative continues and we learn about his rise to cavalry officer, we hit some major points in the war and in his life. This was a man touched with personal grief and sorrows. While he had been wounded at the Battle of Brandy Station through the mouth, he would then have his wife, Rosalie taken from him. The author takes us through the rest of his Civil War career, including his time as a prisoner, and even gives us a little about the fights in reconstruction which Barringer witnessed. When he returned home, he found very little the same and the town was even part of a race riot. The author gives the readers a clear idea of the troubles of this time period and the environment which most Confederate soldiers returned to after the war.
This biography is a treasure to the Civil War world. I highly recommend this book not only to those interested in the Cavalry, but those who are looking for a person not written about in the past. Sheridan R. Barringer has done the Civil War world a great favor by bringing this man to life in the pages. His narrative gives grace and dignity to this man and does justice to his memory. Any information anyone could have ever wanted about General Rufus Barringer can be found in these pages, and what is presented is excellent. Highly Recommended.