FAYETTEVILLE — On Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Pate Room of the Cumberland County Headquarters Library, author Frye Gaillard will give a presentation about his book, Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory, and a Southern Family’s Civil War Letters. The presentation is co-sponsored by the North Carolina Civil War History Center, the proposed expansion for the Museum of the Cape Fear.
Gaillard’s family letters from the time period provoked many questions for him and contradicted the stories of gallantry he heard growing up in the 1950s. His ancestors include his great-great grandfather Thomas Gaillard and Thomas’s sons Franklin and Richebourg, all of whom were Confederate officers. Thomas wrote in one of his letters, “Oh, this terrible war.” Who can measure the troubles — the affliction — it has brought upon us all?”
In his book, Gaillard writes, “My own generation, was, perhaps, the last that was raised on stories of gallantry and courage, an admiration of the dashing generals who led our fighting men into battle, and whose heroism was undiminished by defeat. Oddly, mine was also the one of the first generations to view the Civil War through the lens of civil rights….”
The NC Civil War History Center has sponsored other public talks about the Civil War for the past few years. “The History Center is dedicated to providing multiple-perspectives about the Civil War and its aftermath, and Mr. Gaillard’s evolving understanding of his family’s story is presented in that spirit”, said David Winslow, Senior Consultant to the History Center. He added, “History Center supporters can look forward to hearing a variety of speakers with other perspectives in the coming year.”
Frye Gaillard, writer in residence at the University of South Alabama, has written extensively on southern race relations, politics and culture. He is former Southern Editor at The Charlotte Observer, and has written or edited more than twenty books. Two of his many award-winning titles include the Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement That Changed America; and The Dream Long Deferred: The Landmark Struggle for Desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gaillard now lives on the Alabama Gulf Coast with his wife, Nancy, who teaches in the College of Education at the University of South Alabama.