William Edmondson “Grumble” Jones

The Life of a Cantankerous Confederate


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About the Book

William Edmondson “Grumble” Jones (b. 1824) stands among the most notable Southwest Virginians to fight in the Civil War. The Washington County native graduated from Emory & Henry College and West Point. As a lieutenant in the “Old Army” between service in Oregon and Texas, he watched helplessly as his wife drowned during the wreck of the steamship Independence. He resigned his commission in 1857.
Resuming his military career as a Confederate officer, he mentored the legendary John Singleton Mosby. His many battles included a clash with George Armstrong Custer near Gettysburg. An internal dispute with his commanding general, J.E.B. Stuart, resulted in Jones’s court-martial conviction in 1863. Following a series of campaigns in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, he returned to the Shenandoah Valley and died in battle in 1864, leaving a mixed legacy.

About the Author(s)

James Buchanan Ballard is a retired insurance adjuster and a past contributor to the Historical Society of Washington County Virginia’s annual publication regarding events, people, and places from the region. He lives in Abingdon, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

James Buchanan Ballard
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 294
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos & maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7076-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2970-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface    1
1. Ancestry and Origin 5
2. Emory and Henry College 10
3. West Point 15
4. Manifest Destiny 32
5. Migration, Furlough and Marriage 41
6. Tragedy on the High Seas 44
7. Texas—Into the Desert 53
8. The Civilian Years 67
9. A Call to Arms 80
10. First Virginia Cavalry 91
11. Seventh Virginia Cavalry 101
12. Command of the Shenandoah Valley District 113
13. West Virginia Raid 128
14. Brandy Station 147
15. Gettysburg 156
16. ­Court-Martial 171
17. Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee 179
18. The Shenandoah Valley—May 1864 205
19. Return to the Valley 211
20. The Battle of Piedmont—June 5, 1864 223
21. Piedmont Aftermath 230
Epilogue    239
Chapter Notes    251
Bibliography    272
Index    279

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Wonderfully crafted book…remarkable…an excellent biography of one of the Confederacy’s forgotten cavaliers…valuable nuggets that Civil War historians will find useful. Ballard’s diligent research and fine narrative style has resulted in a balanced and solid biography of one of the Civil War’s more obscure figures”—Civil War Monitor
  • “The first complete biography of General Jones to appear in the Civil War literature…Ballard’s study offers a very thorough account of Jones’s Civil War career…offers readers a meticulous recounting and valuable contextualization of the Civil War service of a significant yet largely neglected military figure”—Civil War Books and Authors
  • “Confederate General William E. Jones previously had no thorough biography. James Ballard has filled that niche, and provided an excellent, full-life study of this general from Washington County, Virginia. Readers seeking new ground concerning Southern and Confederate history will find both in this volume…recommended”—Confederate Veteran