150 Years Ago Today …

On this date of 11/21/1862, James A. Seddon was named as the CSA Secretary of War. He was the fourth to hold this position, and he would prove to be the longest – maintaining it until January of 1865. The successful length of his tenure accrued from his ability to work well with Jefferson Davis – also managing the criticisms and complaints of generals and others who were opposed to the Confederate President.

Born in Virginia and becoming a University of Virginia trained lawyer, he was also a Democratic congressman who supported secession.

In a move not entirely dissimilar to the apparent suppression of information relative to the current Benghazi affair, Seddon ordered that “bread riots” in Richmond not be reported in the press – as he did not want the demoralization of the country if the nature and scope of the uprising were to be made widely known. Nor did he want to fuel northern propaganda. But word leaked out to the North, some of it carried by freed prisoners who saw the April 1863 riots from their prison windows.

Some of the brunt of criticism regarding the deplorable conditions of Union prisoners fell at Seddon’s feet. He was thus imprisoned for a brief time immediately after the War. He then retired to his Richmond area home where he died in 1880 at the age of 65.

About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed multiple hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and have been a sportswriter for various publications and online venues. My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with the Antietam Battlefield Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

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