Aiken Wine & Sign Regional Book Signing Authors
A. Gibert Kennedy earned a B.A. in history from East Carolina University and a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee. He retired from a career in nuclear engineering in 2015.
Kennedy has a bookselling business, Stuff Happens, selling used and rare books in Aiken, S.C. that specializes in South Carolina and Civil War history. The business is located in the Aiken Antique Mall, 112 Laurens St. SW, Aiken, S.C.
He lives in Aiken, S.C. with his wife, Pam and a feral cat.
Website: A Gibert Kennedy
Hope, sacrifice, and restoration: throughout the American Civil War and its aftermath, the Foster family endured all of these in no small measure. Drawing from dozens of public and privately owned letters, A. Gibert Kennedy recounts the story of his great-great-grandfather and his family in A South Carolina Upcountry Saga: The Civil War Letters of Barham Bobo Foster and His Family, 1860–1863.
Barham Bobo Foster was a gentleman planter from the Piedmont who signed the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession and served as a lieutenant colonel in the Third South Carolina Volunteers alongside his two sons. Kennedy's primary sources are letters written by Foster and his sons, but he also references correspondence involving Foster's daughters and his wife, Mary Ann.
The letters describe experiences on the battlefields of Virginia and South Carolina, vividly detailing camp life, movements, and battles along with stories of bravery, loss, and sacrifice. The Civil War cost Foster his health, all that he owned, and his two sons, though he was able to rebuild with the help of his wife and three daughters. Supplementing the correspondence with maps, illustrations, and genealogical information, Kennedy shows the full arc of the Foster family's struggle and endurance in the Civil War era.
About the the work
In 1998, my father asked me if I wanted my great-great grandfather's pockets. In the 1800s pockets were worn inside trousers, rather like a modern money belt. The pockets contained about 75 old letters and, as I began reading them, I found that they were mostly Civil War letters.
I began typing these letters up, thinking that others in the family might want to read them someday. As I began digging into the letters, I learned that Barham Bobo Foster was a signer of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession for the Spartanburg District and learned of the terrible cost of the war to his family. So the structure of a book began to form. As I continued my research, I found another 275 letters in the Caroliniana Library at the University of S.C.
Lt. Col. Barham Bobo Foster was second in command of the 3rd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry from its initial organization in 1861 until he left the army in 1862 in failed health. His two sons, Perrin and Tony, served in this unit until their deaths in combat.
In the final edited form, these letters reveal the lives of the Barham Bobo Foster, his two sons, his wife, and daughters during the period from late 1860 to early 1863. The Fosters were engaged at Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, the S.C. coastal defenses, Harper's Ferry, and Fredericksburg. In addition to battle descriptions, the letters offer insights into the thinking of an upcountry planter family on the war, politics, and home life as the war continued to grind away.
I have enjoyed getting to know this family. I hope that you will also enjoy getting to know them.
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