Arthur Lyon Fremantle was a British citizen born on November 11, 1835. He was the son of Major General John Fremantle and Agnes Lyon. Like his father and grandfather before him, Fremantle graduated from Sandhurst, the initial training center for British army officers. In 1852, Fremantle began a long career in the British army, eventually reaching the rank of full general with the Coldstream Guards.
Travels in the South
In 1863, Fremantle took a leave of absence to travel to North America to observe the American Civil War. He arrived in Mexico on April 2, 1863, and entered the Confederate States of America through Texas. During the next three months, Fremantle traveled extensively through the South. Throughout his journey, Fremantle kept a detailed diary of his observations. His journal documented meeting many Confederate dignitaries and army officers, including President Jefferson Davis, Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, Secretary of War James Seddon, and Generals Robert E. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, James Longstreet, A. P. Hill, John Bell Hood, and J. E. B. Stuart. Fremantle’s diary also recounts his eyewitness view of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-July 3, 1863).
Travels in the North
After his travels through the Confederacy, Fremantle passed through Union lines in time to witness the draft riots in New York in July 1863.
When he returned to England, Fremantle published his diary in 1864, as a book titled Three Months in the Southern States. The book was popular in England until the Civil War ended.
After a distinguished career in the British army, Fremantle died on the Isle of Wight on September 25, 1901.
Three-quarters of a decade after his death, author Michael Shaara’s 1974 historical novel, The Killer Angels, and its 1993 film adaptation, Gettysburg, popularized Fremantle.