A Guide to the Clark-Buchanan Family Letters, 1862-1864 and undated Clark-Buchanan Family, Letters, 1862-1864 and undated 42855

A Guide to the Clark-Buchanan Family Letters, 1862-1864 and undated

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 42855


Library of Virginia

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© 2007 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Jessica Tyree

The Library of Virginia
Accession Number
42855 (Miscellaneous reel 5229)
Clark-Buchanan Family Letters, 1862-1864 and undated
1 reel of microfilm
Clark-Buchanan family

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Clark-Buchanan Family Letters, 1861-1864 and undated. Accession 42854. Personal papers collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia. Originals in the collection of the Emory & Henry College Archives, Emory, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Loaned for microfilming by Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia, on 18 September 2006.

Biographical Information

James Clark was born on 20 May 1830 in Glade Spring, Washington County, Virginia, one of twelve sons of John Breckendridge Clark and Mary Beattie Clark. He married Martha Amanda Buchanan (b. ca. 1835) on 8 September 1858 in Rich Valley, Smyth County, Virginia. James Clark served with the 63rd Virginia Infantry Regiment, Company F, rising to the rank of captain. He was wounded in action at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on 7 December 1864, and eventually was granted a medical furlough. Clark was still at home in Rich Valley when the war ended. His family with Martha grew to include seven children. James Clark died on 10 December 1911. Martha Clark's brother, Samuel T. Buchanan, served with the 48th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Company D, also attaining the rank of captain. He was captured at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House on 12 May 1864 and transferred to the Union prison at Point Lookout, Maryland, where he died of an illness on 16 July 1864. Other Buchanan siblings, children of Wilson (b. ca. 1797) and Eliza Buchanan (b. ca. 1807) of Smyth County, include Nan (b. ca. 1831) and James C., or Jim (b. ca. 1842).

Scope and Content

Letters, 1862-1864 and undated, of the Clark and Buchanan families of Washington and Smyth Counties, Virginia. More than half of the letters in this collection were written by James Clark (1830-1911), chiefly to wife Martha Buchanan Clark (b. ca. 1835), while he served with the 63rd Virginia Infantry Regiment, Company F. Writing from various locations including Giles, Southampton, and Washington Counties, Virginia; Kanawha County, (West) Virginia; and Georgia, Clark's letters discuss his disdain for one's lack of freedom while in the army; camp life, including meals, sleeping accommodations, and religious observances; witnessing the severe punishment of deserters; rumors of upcoming battles and nearby Union troop movements; problems with ragged clothing and lice; his impressions of Confederate Generals Joseph Johnston (1807-1891) and William Wing Loring (1818-1886); a 20 January 1863 engagement at Kelly's Store near Suffolk, Virginia; and the Battle of Kolb's Farm near Marietta, Georgia, 22 June 1864.

Most of the Buchanan letters were written by Samuel T. Buchanan (ca. 1836-1864), 48th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Company D, to family members including sisters Martha Buchanan Clark and Nan Buchanan (b. ca. 1831). Writing from Culpeper, Orange, and Spotsylvania Counties, Virginia, and Maryland, Buchanan describes camp life and living conditions; his participation in the Battle of Gettysburg; grueling marches; a revival meeting in camp; witnessing the execution of ten deserters from a North Carolina regiment in September 1863; and April 1864 rumors of Union General Ulysses S. Grant's approach and his intention to take Richmond that spring. A letter to Martha from brother Jim Buchanan (b. ca. 1842) tells of Samuel's 12 May 1864 capture at Spotsylvania Court House; a 29 August 1864 letter from family friend and 50th Virginia Infantry Regiment officer Clayton Hubble (d. 1864) informs father Wilson Buchanan of Samuel's death. Another letter, from Colonel Robert H. Dungan (1834-1903), also of the 48th Virginia, Company D, describes Samuel as a man of good nature and strong character.

Adjunct Descriptive Data

Location of Originals

Originals are owned by Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia.

Contents List

Miscellaneous reel 5229
Clark-Buchanan family letters, 1862-1864 and undated.
Extent: 1 reel of microfilm.