A Guide to the Henry B. Whittington Diary, 24 May 1861 - 30 March 1864 Whittington, Henry B., Diary 11

A Guide to the Henry B. Whittington Diary, 24 May 1861 - 1 March 1865

A Collection in
Alexandria Library
Local History/Special Collections
Accession Number 11


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Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections

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Processed by: Special Collections Staff

Repository
Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections
Accession Number
11
Title
Henry B. Whittington Diary, 24 May 1861 - 1 March 1865
Physical Characteristics
2 boxes
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Henry B. Whittington Diary, Accession #11, Alexandria Library, Local History/Special Collections, Alexandria, Va.

Acquisition Information

Donated by James S. Douglas, Jr., nephew of the creator, 1950s(?).

Alternative Form Available

Microfilm copy, Reel #00056

Civil War Vertical File: transcript, May 24 - August 12, 1861.


Biographical/Historical Information

Henry Bassford Whittington, 1812? - 1884, was a clerk for an Alexandria mercantile business during the Civil War. Previously he lived in Dinwiddie County for some period of time. He also enjoyed a local reputation as a poet and his work was occasionally published in the Alexandria Gazette during the latter half of the nineteenth century. During the Federal occupation of Alexandria, he kept a diary of nearly daily entries for the period of May 24, 1861 to March 1, 1865. At the time of the 1870 Federal Census, he was living in the Mansion House Hotel. Whittington died in Alexandria on September 25, 1884.

Scope and Content

The diary begins on the date of Federal occupation of Alexandria by Union troops, May 24, 1861. Entries describe events related to the Civil War, the occupying troops, and attitudes of the local populace. There is rich detail regarding personnel of the ever-changing occupying force, its disruption of local affairs, and response of the citizens. Local and national events such as major battles, skirmishes, and political occurrences are vividly described. References to persons important to the history of Alexandria and the country for that period are frequent. Sectional opinion of the period toward issues such as slavery, contrabands, and emancipation are also present. The diary ends on March 1, 1865.

Arrangement

Chronological. The entire original diary is in Box 11 with no separation. Box 11A contains a copy of the diary, separated into folders by year.

Index Terms

  • Alexandria (Va.) - Social Life and Customs, 1783-1865.
  • Diaries, letters, and memoirs.
  • Fugitive slaves.
  • Military Occupation. Damages.
  • Slavery - United States.
  • United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865.

Additional Information

Physical Characteristics

The diary is a collection of sheets of lined pages, folded crosswise in pairs with the entries written across the lines. There is no cover. Loose threads along the folded edge of some sections suggest that some or all of the diary may have been bound at one time.

Contents List

Box 11
Henry B. Whittington diary, 24 May 1861 - 1 March 1865.
Box-folder 11A:1
Partial copy of Henry B. Whittington diary, 1861.

October 4 - October 17, 1861 (pp. 80-93) are missing.

Box-folder 11A:2
Partial copy of Henry B. Whittington diary, 1862.

Page numbering is inconsistent from September 7, 1862 forward, and ends completely after November 25, 1862.

Box-folder 11A:3
Partial copy of Henry B. Whittington diary, 1863.

Also included is a "Weekly Concert for Prayer" announcement.

Box-folder 11A:4
Partial copy of Henry B. Whittington diary, 1864.
Box-folder 11A:5
Partial copy of Henry B. Whittington diary, 1865.