by Francis N. Boney
University of Alabama Press, 1967
Paper: 978-0-8173-1258-9

Covers the life of John Letcher a virtually unknown significant leader of the Confederacy
John Letcher, governor of Virginia from 1860 through 1863, is one of the significant leaders of the Confederacy who is still virtually unknown. This study, covering Letcher’s entire life with emphasis on his governorship, attempts to fill an obvious gap in American history. For the first time, Letcher’s lengthy career is examined in detail: early development as a local Virginia politician during the Jacksonian era, maturity as an in­fluential congressman in the rising sectionalism of the 1850s, the crucial governorship, and finally a gradual fading away in the post­war period.
Letcher’s story is only a fragment of the epic of the transformation of the United States from a weak, uncertain confedera­tion into a powerful, confident nation. The emergence of the colossus of the New World is a spectacular and critical event in world history, full of grandeur and suffering, idealism and dis­illusionment. To trace the course of Letcher's life is to follow one small current in a torrential flood-but a significant one, for Letcher was not only a leader but also in many ways a typical American of his time.