Grigsby was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He became a farmer and served in the Mexican War. When the Civil War erupted, he became a major in the 27th Virginia Infantry in the Stonewall Brigade in 1861, lieutenant colonel later that year, and colonel in 1862. (He succeeded John Echols in these higher ranks.) Grisbsy served under Stonewall Jackson in the Valley Campaign, fighting at the First Battle of Winchester. Then, he served under Jackson in the Seven Days Battles and Second Bull Run, being slightly wounded in the latter.
He led the Stonewall Brigade from August 30, 1862, to November 6, 1862, including at the Battle of Antietam, in place pf Brig. Gen. Charles S. Winder. He became acting commander of Jackson's Division during the battle when Brig. Gen. John R. Jones was wounded and Brig. Gen. William E. Starke was killed. Afterwards Stonewall Jackson decided not to promote Grigsby to permanent command of the Stonewall Brigade, and the colonel resigned his commission in protest when Elisha F. Paxton of Jackson's staff was promoted in his stead. One theory why Grigsby was passed over for promotion was his use of profane language, which displeased the devout and sober Jackson.
Grigsby is reported to have had a testy encounter with Jefferson Davis, when he went to Richmond, Virginia, to protest being passed over for promotion. This resulted in his remaining at home, unemployed in further service, for the rest of the war. He died in Stony Point, Virginia, and is buried there in the Gross family cemetery.
References[edit | edit source]
- Freeman, Douglas S., Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command (3 volumes), Scribners, 1946, vol. 1 & 2. ISBN 0-684-85979-3.
- Sifakis, Stewart, Who Was Who in the Civil War (New York: Facts on File, 1988).
- Antietam on the Web biography