Memoirs of a Confederate Staff Officer: From Bethel to Bentonville
Major James Ratchford's reminiscences, unrevealed for more than one hundred years, provide a different perspective on the generals he served and the ... Show synopsis Major James Ratchford's reminiscences, unrevealed for more than one hundred years, provide a different perspective on the generals he served and the more than thirty engagements he survived. As adjutant general to Daniel Harvey Hill, John B. Hood, and Stephen D. Lee, Ratchford participated in major battles in the East, such as Fredericksburg and the Seven Days, witnessed the siege of Atlanta, and finally surrendered with Joseph E. Johnston's army at Greensboro, North Carolina, in April 1865. Professor Sieburg, Ratchford's granddaughter, has edited her ancestor's accounts of his close contacts with such Confederate leaders as Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson, as well as his descriptions of the combat soldier's life. Ratchford's job as a courier enabled him to shed new light on the famous "lost dispatch, " which many believe led to the Confederate defeat at Antietam (Sharpsburg). Major Ratchford claimed little knowledge of the larger military picture, but describes in a simple, straightforward style the humor, heroism, and honor which were part of that epic conflict.