Confederate general Dabney Herndon Maury, nephew of renowned scientist Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, sits for an undated photograph that is part of the Cook Collection at the Valentine Richmond History Center.
During the Civil War Maury fought in the Western Theater, rising quickly in the ranks after the battles of Pea Ridge, Iuka, and Corinth in 1862. As commander of the District of the Gulf in the war's last two years, he became known for his tenacious defense of the port of Mobile, Alabama. After the war, however, he struggled with poverty. In 1869, he helped found the Southern Historical Society, which became an important institution for advocates of the Lost Cause view of the war. In his 1894 memoir, Recollections of a Virginian in the Mexican, Indian, and Civil Wars, Maury gave a good-natured review of his life, winning accolades from many, including U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt, who complimented his humor, vowing, "no one can help being attracted both to the author and his work."