Richard Griffith was born near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 11, 1814, and was graduated from Ohio University at Athens, Ohio, in 1837. Twenty years later he received an honorary master's degree from his alma mater. Removing to Vicksburg, Mississippi, soon after his graduation, he engaged in teaching until the outbreak of the Mexican War, when he enlisted in the 1st Mississippi Rifles. He was elected 1st lieutenant and regimental adjutant and formed a warm and lasting friendship with his commanding officer, Jefferson Davis. After returning from Mexico, Griffith was for some years a banker in Jackson, Mississippi, a United States marshal, and also served two terms as state treasurer. Shortly after the secession of the state he was elected colonel of the 12th Mississippi, and on November 12, 1861 became brigadier general in the Provisional Confederate States Army, assigned to command of a brigade of four Mississippi regiments in Virginia. His troops were in reserve at Seven Pines, but in the subsequent battles of the Seven Days were heavily engaged as a part of Magruder's division. At the battle of Savage's Station, June 29, 1862, he was mortally wounded, dying the same day in Richmond. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Jackson, Mississippi.
Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.