A Collection in
Collection Number Ms2009-058
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversitySpecial Collections
P.O. Box 90001
Blacksburg, Virginia 24062-9001
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
2009 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.
Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections Staff
Collection is open to research.
Permission to publish material from the Edwin R. Coghill Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Edwin R. Coghill Collection, Ms2009-058 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
The Edwin R. Coghill Collection was donated to Special Collections in 2006.
Alternative Form Available
Images of the original diary may be found here (in pdf format). The 1970 Bethel Baptist Church booklet included in the collection contains a full transcript of Coghill's memoir. Also in the collection is a photocopy of the original memoir in its entirety.
The processing, arrangement and description of the Edwin R. Coghill Collection commenced and was completed in April 2009.
Edwin Ruthven "Ned" Coghill, a sergeant in Company E, 30th Virginia Infantry during the Civil War, was born in Caroline County, Virginia on November 1842. The son of William A. and Sarah L. Coghill, he attended school at Flippo's Store, Virginia and worked as a farmer. Coghill enlisted in the Caroline Greys on May 9, 1861; he was promoted to corporal on April 26, 1862, and to sergeant about three months later. Surrendering with his regiment, Coghill was paroled at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Following the war, Coghill lived with his wife Elizabeth ("Bettie") and children in Caroline County, where he worked as a teacher and farmer. He also served as clerk of the Caroline County Circuit Court from 1894 to 1925, and as clerk of Bethel Baptist Church from 1866 to 1924. Edwin R. Coghill died on November 16, 1925.
The 30th Virginia was organized in the area of Fredericksburg, Virginia and mustered into Confederate service in July 1861. After reorganization in April 1862, the 30th proceeded to participate in a number of major battles (including the Seven Days Battles, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor, the siege of Petersburg, and Five Forks), and was present at the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865.
This collection contains three items relating to Sergeant Edwin R. "Ned" Coghill of Company E ("Caroline Greys"), 30th Virginia Infantry during the Civil War. The collection includes Coghill's war memoir and a roster of Company E soldiers, as well as a 1970 booklet commemorating a memorial service for General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, held at Bethel Baptist Church (Caroline County, Virginia).
Identified on its first page as a diary, Coghill's account of events seems instead to be recollected from memory. (Because the account ceases with mid-May 1864, however, it seems likely that Coghill may have been summarizing his experiences to that point.) Beginning with the march to Manassas Junction, Coghill details the movements of his regiment. He describes battles between artillery emplacements and gunboats on the Potomac River near Evansport and briefly notes the battles at Harpers Ferry and Antietam, recording the deaths of a number of comrades. Coghill mentions attending the funeral service for General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson at Bethel Baptist Church. (Held sometime between May 15 and June 3, 1863, the service was instead more likely one of the first of many memorial services held for Jackson throughout the South.) The memoir also contains a list of the company's members present at the surrender of forces at Appomattox and lists of Company E soldiers who were killed in battle or died of wounds and disease. The memoir concludes with a handwritten copy of Robert E. Lee's farewell address to the Army of Northern Virginia. The accompanying roster of the Caroline Greys, compiled after the war, lists names, ranks, and notes on deaths, wounds, imprisonments, promotions, and transfers.
Also contained in the collection is a 1970 booklet commemorating the 1863 funeral of General Thomas J. Jackson at Bethel Baptist Church. The booklet contains information on Jackson's death, photos of Edwin R. Coghill and some of his descendants, and a complete transcript of Coghill's memoir.
The collection is arranged by document type.