Born in Lincolnton, North Carolina, in 1837, Stephen Dodson Ramseur
rose meteorically through the military ranks. Graduating from West
Point in 1860, he joined the Confederate army as a captain. By the
time of his death near the end of the war at the Battle of Cedar
Creek, he had attained the rank of major general in the Army of
Northern Virginia. He excelled in every assignment and was involved
as a senior officer in many of the war's most important conflicts
east of the Appalachians.
Ramseur's letters--over 180 of which are collected and transcribed
here by George Kundahl--provide his incisive observations on these
military events. At the same time, they offer rare insight into the
personal opinions of a high-ranking Civil War officer.
Correspondence by Civil War figures is often strictly professional.
But in personal letters to his wife, Nellie, and best friend, David
Schenk, Ramseur candidly expresses beliefs about the social,
military, and political issues of the day. He also shares vivid
accounts of battle and daily camp life, providing colorful details
on soldiering during the war.