Randolph Fairfax: A Martyr for the Confederacy (created by Tommy Reilly '19)

  • Hailed at the time as "The flower of the south", Fairfax was remembered as an ideal southern soldier whose death was used by Confederate officials as a morale booster after he died in battle at Fredericksburg in 1862. Described by those who knew him as a boy “actuated by a desire to do his duty; his conduct [was] guided by principle”, Fairfax was a beloved graduate of Episcopal High School. After attending The University of Virginia in Charlottesville and serving as a member of the school’s Southern Guard, Fairfax was eager to go to battle when the war broke out. He initially stayed in school to comply with his family's wishes. However, the call was too strong and Fairfax enlisted shortly after the first battle of Manassas. He was a private in the 1st Rockbridge Artillery alongside multiple other Episcopal graduates and was led by former headmaster General William Nelson Pendleton. Beloved by his fellow soldiers as well as his superiors, Fairfax’s death at the battle of Fredericksburg quickly brought him to prominence as a martyr for the cause of the Confederacy. His death was symbolic due to the fact that he personified what Confederates believed defined their cause. An avid scholar, devout Christian, and the spawn of a wealthy and respectable family, Fairfax still chose to join the army as a private. He had all the connections to become an officer yet he still chose to be on the front lines of the war and therefore was a perfect soldier to use for propaganda. After his death in December 1862, his memory was used to urge men to join the cause or keep pushing onward if they were already enlisted. Fairfax was a young man who joined and gave his life for the Confederacy and became a poster boy of their cause. 
Cover of "A Sketch of the Life of Randolph Fairfax" Fairfax Excerpt 1: Honor in fighting not for glory but for the cause. Fairfax Excerpt 2: A perfect son Fairfax Excerpt 3: The joyous life of fighting as a private in the C.S.A.

The title page of A Sketch of the Life of Randolph Fairfax published in 1864 by the Rev. Philip Slaughter, D.D. A Sketch is a glorified recounting of Fairfax's life leading up to his death at Fredericksburg. The following excerpts outline the morals he held dear and the passion with which he served. This piece of literature was written to boost morale within the Confederacy as the war began to become more of a lost cause. https://archive.org/details/sketchoflifeofra00slau

Randolph Fairfax, Confederate Martyr