Lt. Col. Sidney H. Griffin, 31st LA Infantry

Written by Jon R. McKinnie

Spearsville plantation owner Sidney H. Griffin raised a company of men from the northwestern portion of the parish for the Confederate service in early 1862; the men styled themselves the “Sparrow Cadets”. The unit elected Griffin captain, and they entered the service of the Confederate States in Monroe, designated as Company I, 31st Louisiana Infantry Regiment.

However, at the regimental organization in May, he was elected as the lieutenant colonel of the 31st Regiment. Griffin served with his regiment during the Siege of Vicksburg, which began on 19 May 1863.

Lieutenant Colonel Sidney H. Griffin of the 31st Louisiana Infantry died during the siege of Vicksburg. On June 27th, he was killed by sniper fire while surveying the trench lines of his regiment.

A monument in his honor stands on Confederate Avenue in the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Lt Col Sidney H Griffin

Vicksburg National Military Park

The memorial to the sacrifice of Lt. Col. Sidney H. Griffin of the 31st Louisiana Infantry, CSA, was erected by the state of Louisiana on July 11, 1919 by sculptor George T Brewster. Memorial is located on Confederate Avenue, 600 west of Graveyard Road.

The monument reads as follows:

LOUISIANA

S. H. GRIFFIN – Lieut. Col. 31st Inf.

Killed in Battle June 27 1863

Lt. Col. Griffin was one of the senior officers of the unit that my ancestor, Private Ettienne Reppond of Co. H of the 31st LA Inf., served with  at Vicksburg.  Pvt. Reppond surrendered with his Regiment on July 4 1863 and fought with Griffin in all the engagements the 31st was involved in.

Lt. Col. Griffin would also die at Vicksburg — in pitched battle with the Union Army units who were trying to dislodge the entrenched Confederates from Vicksburg, a city that was a natural fortress. Ultimately, General Grant and the Union Army decided to starve the Confederates out, and take Vicksburg by siege.

Brig Gen Baldwin stated in his report to Gen Pembleton: “On June 27, Lieutenant-Colonel Griffin, commanding the Thirty-first Louisiana, was killed while watching the operations of the enemy from the trenches. One of the best field officers it has ever been my good fortune to meet, his imperturbable coolness and gallantry on all occasions, his watchful vigilance and sound judgment, united with more than ordinary ability as a tactician and disciplinarian, rendered his loss irreparable to his regiment and a serious blow to the service.”

More information about the life and service of Lt Col Griffin (including a listing of his personal property, including a list of his slaves, which are enumerated just above his mules, from his probate proceeding) can be found here, on the US Gen Web: (Succession Link)

Source: “1863 – 1866 Succession of Lt. Colonel Sidney H. Griffin, Decd., Union Parish Louisiana “Union Parish Louisiana Succession Book E, pp. 658 – 669

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Originally from Union Parish and a resident of Farmerville, Jon R. McKinnie enjoys writing and spending time with his wife, Phyllis Richardson Hall, two children and four grandchildren. Jon also serves as the Historian for Lt. Elijah H. Ward Camp #1971, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Farmerville, La.

Lt. Elijah H. Ward Camp #1971, Sons of Confederate Veterans Farmerville, La

 

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