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Col. George St. Leger Grenfell (1808-1868)

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by donna, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    George St. Leger Grenfell was born in London in 1808. His father was a prominent businessman in banking and metal dealings in Holland and France.

    When he was in Paris in 1830 he joined the Royal Guard where he took part in fighting that led to downfall of the Bourbon monarchy. His father lost all his wealth and Grenfell had to leave France in 1837. He then entered the Crimean War where he was a Captain. After the Crimean War he went to South America and was involved in several revolutions.

    At outbreak of American Civil War he came to America and was introduced to Robert E. Lee. He joined the Confederacy. Lee sent him to John Hunt Morgan. Morgan made him his adjutant general. He was said to be " hard as steel and tough as leather and an excellent horseman". He rode with Morgan until 1863 when he joined Bragg's Army in Tennessee and then went to Virginia and rode with General JEB Stuart.

    After two more years of fighting he went North. Since he wasn't an American citizen he was interviewed by Stanton and allowed to live freely. He became involved with the Northwestern Conspiracy and was arrested. His court-martial took place in 1865 and caused much publicity and was written up in the "London Times". Grenfell was found guilty and sentenced to death. However after demands from the British Parliament, President Andrew Johnson commuted his sentence to life imprisonment.

    Grenfell was sent to Dry Tortugus where he met Dr. Mudd. When the epidemic of yellow fever broke out, he and Dr. Mudd worked ceaselessly to ease the suffering of others at the prison. The prison wrote President Johnson asking for his release. The President refused to pardon Grenfell. Grenfell decided to escape and on March 7, 1868 he and two companions rowed out into the storm from the prison and were never seen again.
     
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  3. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    A very interesting and exciting book on the Colonel is Stephen A. Starr's "Colonel Grenfell's Wars, The Life of a Soldier of Fortune". This is a very interesting and scholarly biography of Grenfell. He had a daring and exciting life, full of risks and adventures. I believe Grenfell is one of the cavalier confederate heroes that makes the Civil War so interesting. I truely enjoyed his time with John Hunt Morgan.
     
  4. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brev. Brig. Gen'l Retired Moderator

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    Oh! Now I know where I learned about him! Thanks for posting that, Donna. You always come up with the most interesting stuff.....he's one of those people you couldn't even begin to make up as a fictional character--someone would say you were being too dramatic!
     
  5. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Just saw this old thread of mine was mentioned in a new thread.

    I am really sad to here that Grenfell supposedly said those things to Dr. Henshall. I had always thought he was a good friend of John Hunt Morgan. What I had previously read about Grenfell was that he was. His body was never found after his escape. I guess one of the mysteries is did Grenfell make it or didn't he.
     
  6. donna

    donna Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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  7. Joshism

    Joshism First Sergeant

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