Crimson Confederates

Harvard Men Who Fought for the South

  • Author(s): Trimpi, Helen
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2009-12-10
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Hardcover - Cloth: Price $59.00 | Buy Now

Though located in the heart of Unionist New England, Harvard produced 357 alumni who fought for the South during the Civil War—men not just from the South but from the North as well. This encyclopedic work gathers their stories together for the first time, providing unprecedented biographical coverage of the Crimson Confederates.

Included are alumni of Harvard College, Law School, Medical School, and Lawrence Scientific School. The emphasis of the entries is on the alumnus’s military career, whether as an infantry private or as a signal scout, as a surgeon or as a teacher in the Confederate Naval Academy, as an aide-de-camp or as an artillery captain. The range of participation took these men into all the major battles from the Eastern Theater under Robert E. Lee to the Trans-Mississippi under Richard Taylor and Sterling Price. Their careers spanned firing a gun at Fort Sumter and the earliest battles in Virginia to the closing shots at Bentonville and Mobile.

Harvard’s general officers included two major generals— W. H. F. “Rooney” Lee (one of Robert E. Lee’s sons) and John Sappington Marmaduke—as well as thirteen brigadiers, among them James Rogers Cooke, Stephen Elliott, States Rights Gist, John Echols, Ben Hardin Helm, Albert Gallatin Jenkins, Bradley Tyler Johnson, and William Booth Taliaferro. Several engineers and scientists from Lawrence Scientific School constructed major fortifications at Vicksburg and in Charleston Harbor, while others worked in the Nitre and Mining Bureau. An appendix of civilian Harvard alumni who served the Confederacy as congressmen, diplomats, jurists, editors, and in other ways is also included.

This comprehensive, remarkably detailed reference work will be valuable for researchers and browsers alike.

Helen P. Trimpi has taught at Stanford, College of Notre Dame (Belmont, California), University of Alberta, and Michigan State University. She is the author of Melville’s Confidence Men and American Politics in the 1850s, numerous essays on Melville and modern poetry, and five volumes of poetry. Trimpi is a member of the Company of Military Historians.