States Right Gist by Walter Brian Cisco

States Rights Gist: A South Carolina General of the Civil War
By Walter Brian Cisco
Pelican Publishers

Reviewed by Keith Jones

Many people are surprised and somewhat amused to learn that there was a Confederate general whose first two names were “States Rights.” With States Rights Gist, that is exactly the case. The fact that a South Carolina family would provide “States Rights” as given names in 1831 illustrates how long there had been concern about federal encroachment upon the affairs of the sovereign states in the South.

In this book, Mr. Cisco provides a full spotlight on one of the South’s finest generals. Most people know little about Gist other than the fact that his interesting name often makes him a convenient trivia question, but he was one of the most respected figures in his state and later in the western theater of the war. His untimely death certainly deprived S. C. of what would have probably been one of its shining lights in the latter half of the 19th century.

It is sad that Gist’s stellar military record is largely forgotten, but it is gratifying to see that Cisco has recreated this life from primary sources so well. Written in 1991, “States Rights Gist” is a biography that stands the test of time.

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