A Guide to the Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence, 1861-1862 Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence Ms2013-029

A Guide to the Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence, 1861-1862

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2013-029


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Special Collections, Virginia Tech

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
USA
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

2019 (CC0 1.0)

Processed by: Nicole Hancock, Student Assistant and Kira A. Dietz, Archivis, Special Collections

Repository
Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Ms2013-029
Title
Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence, 1861-1862
Physical Characteristics
0.3 Cubic Feet 1 box
DIGITAL CONTENT
The original donation (19 letters by 17 soldiers) has been digitized and is available online. As of May 2019, digitization was underway for the 2017 accession.
Language
English
Abstract
The Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence collection consists of 19 letters by 17 soldiers, dated between 1861 and 1862. Letters were written by soldiers stationed in and around Alexandria and Fairfax counties and Washington, DC in the first 12-16 months of the Civil War.

Administrative Information

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Alternate Form Available

Some letters and any available transcripts have been digitized and are available online. As of May 2019, additional digitization of materials donated in 2017 was underway.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information:Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence, Ms2013-029, Special Collections, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence was donated to Special Collections by Michael S. Mitchell in July 2013. An additional 21 letters, as well as a print, were donated to Special Collections in October 2017.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence was completed in October 2013. The 2017 accession was processed in May 2019.


Biographical Note

See individual creators in the Contents List below for available biographical information.

Scope and Content

The Alexandria and Fairfax Counties [Virginia] Civil War Correspondence collection consists of 40 letters by 31 soldiers, and the letters date from 1861 and 1862 and were written by soldiers stationed in and around Alexandria and Fairfax counties and Washington, DC in the first 12-16 months of the Civil War. The majority of the letters were written to family members and contain mostly news from home, camp life, and local events. However, most letters also include some piece of war news or battle/skirmish description and opinions about the war. Some letters include transcripts.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically by creator's last name. The print, donated with the second accession, is housed in a flat file.


Index Terms

    Subjects:

  • Civil War
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Virginia -- History
  • Persons:

  • Ash, William (3rd Regiment, Vermont Infantry)
  • Baskin, J. T.
  • Cole, Henry
  • Cole, Luther
  • Davis, George E. , d.1863 (Company F, Harris Light Cavalry)
  • Dixon, William D.
  • Edwards, Clarke S. (Clarke Swett), 1824-1903
  • Gerry, C. E.
  • Green, Josiah M.
  • Gregory, W. B. (William Bartleman), 1829-1887
  • Guion, J. Marshall, 1822-1891
  • Hanna, James W.
  • Hersum, George L. (5th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry)
  • Hunt, Melvin (72nd Regiment, New York Infantry)
  • Kyger, Henry C. (5th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry)
  • Lacaster, G. W.
  • Lukens, Franklin B. (Company E, 3rd Regiment, New Jersey Infantry)
  • Miller, Henry
  • Nickerson, Melville P. (2nd Regiment, Maine Infantry)
  • Penman, Abraham (12th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry (41st Volunteers))
  • Rappleyea, Jeremiah C. (1st Regiment, New Jersey Infantry)
  • Stewart, Peter (79th NY Highland Guard)
  • Stickely, Peter H. (1825-1861)
  • Turrill, Reuben
  • Van Fleet, Abraham
  • Way, Alexander M. (Alexander Moore), 1826-1890

Contents List

Box-Folder 1
16
Ash, William, December 22, 1861
Scope and Content

This letter was written from William Ash at Camp Griffin, December 22 1861, to his cousin. He writes recent fighting and news from other regiments

Box-Folder 1
1
Baskin, J. T., October 3, 1861
Scope and Content

J. T. Baskin, a Confederate soldier, wrote a letter to his sister on October 3, 1861, describing the Yankees advance and how they are much stronger. He talks about marching, and the sickness that has traveled through the camp. He also describes some of his daily experiences such as guard duty. Transcript included.

Box-Folder 1
2
Cole, Henry & Luther, August-October 1861
Scope and Content

This folder includes three letters written from two brothers to their sister Annie. The first letter is written from Henry and Luther on August 2, 1861, and is written on stationary with a picture of the United States Capitol on it. They describe life in their squad, and how their cabin is set up. The second letter was written on August 2, 1861 by brother Henry. Henry describes the weather and his assignments, and he also describes his food that he gets to eat. The third letter was written by brother Henry on October 9, 1861. He describes their location and what is in his haversacks, and he also gives a description of the landscape around him. Transcripts included.

Box-Folder 1
3
Davis, George E., March 19, 1862
Scope and Content

This letter was written by George E. Davis on March 19, 1862 to his Father and Mother. On the letter is a picture of George Washington with the inscription "The Father of our Country." He tells his family that as soon as he gets paid he will send money home. He also describes his movement from camp to camp. Transcript included.

Biographical Note

George E. Davis enlisted with Company F, Harris Light Cavalry in September 1861. He died June 22, 1863 in an Alexandria hospital, from wounds received in action.

Box-Folder 1
4
Dixon, William D., November 20, 1861
Scope and Content

This letter was written on November 20, 1861 by William D. Dixon to his wife Martha. He says that he hopes to return home soon, and that he sent her money. He then describes the weather and how the cold effects him, but that he is healthy. He also asks her to give messages to several family members. Transcript included.

Box-Folder 1
17
Edwards, Clarke S., August-October 1861
Scope and Content

The folder contain three letters from Clarke S. Edwards to his wife in Bethel, Maryland, written between September and October of 1861. He writes about his health, their letters/sending money, regiment activities, and the availability of supplies.

Biographical Note

Clarke S. Edwards was born in 1824. He lived in Bethel, Maine, prior to the start of the Civil War. After the attack on Fort Sumner, Edwards formed a company of men, eventually Company I, 5th Regiment, Maine Infanry. Edwards began the war with the rank of captain and was later made a colonel in January 1863. He was brevetted Brigadier General of US Volunteers in March 1865. Following the Civil War, he returned to his farm and family in Maine. He died in 1903.

  • Letter, September 29, 1861
  • Letter, October 22, 1861
  • Letter, October 25, 1861
Box-Folder 1
18
Faulk, David K. , March 2, 1862
Scope and Content

This letter was written from David K. Faulk to his mother from Camp Pierpont, March 2, 1862. Faulk describes regimental travels, his recent receipt of pay, and his concern that she shouldn't worry about him.

Box-Folder 1
5
Gerry, C. E., September 22, 1861
Scope and Content

This letter was written by C. E. Gerry on September 22, 1861 to his friend George. He says it will be a quick letter, and that he has has run out of stamps. He describes some of the other "boys", and he asks George to write back soon. Transcript included.

Box-Folder 1
19
Green, Josiah M., December 1861
Scope and Content

This folder contains two letters from Josiah Green to his wife, written from Camp Griffin on December 7 and December 23, 1861. Both letters are primarily full of discussions of both of their health, the state of the mail, and some war news Green has picked up.

  • Letter, December 7, 1861
  • Letter, December 23, 1861
Box-Folder 1
6
Gregory, W. B., January-March 1862
Scope and Content

W. B. Gregory wrote two letters to Bill in 1862. In the first letter which is written on January 29, 1862. He describes the delay of mail and how he has not received mail lately. He asks several questions about Bill and Lizzie. He closes the letter by asking Bill to send him some items such as pantaloons, tobacco, and stamps. The second letter was written on March 4, 1862. He starts the letter by discussing by describing life in the quarter. He tells what he has done in the last several weeks, and he closes asking if he can find out if the tailor in Culpeper can make a Confederate uniform coat. Transcripts included.

Biographical Note

William Bartleman Gregory served as an Assistant Surgeon (and later Surgeon) for several regiments from Alabama and Georgia during the Civil War. Prior the war, Gregory studied and practiced medicine in Alexandria, Virginia. He returned to Alexandria and resumed his career following his parole in 1865. He died in 1887 and is buried in Alexandria, Virginia.

Sources: Find a Grave

Box-Folder 1
20
Guion, J. Marshall, September 15, 1861
Scope and Content

This letter was written by J. Marshall Guion to his brother from "Camp Advance," September 15, 1861. The letter includes Guion's take on recent military and camp activities.

Biographical Note

J. Marshall Guion (1822-1891) served with the 33rd Regiment, New York Volunteers. He later transferred to Company K, 1st New York Veteran Cavalry as a captain.

Box-Folder 1
21
Hanna, James W., October 17, 1861
Scope and Content

This folder contains a letter from James W. Hanna, written at Camp Pierpont, October 17, 1861, to his friend, Richard Lyons. He talks about skirmishing with the Confederate soldiers and how much he is enjoying life in the army.

Box-Folder 1
22
Hersum, George L., January 1, 1862
Scope and Content

This folder includes a letter from George Hersum to May, likely his wife, written at Camp California, dated January 1, 1861 (see note below). He talks about the slowness of the mail, sending money, and a visit/news about a friend, James W. Dean.

Please note: The creator dated this letter as 1861, but given that it mentions fighting at Bull Run (First Bull Run), is it more likely from 1862.

Box-Folder 1
23
Hunt, Melvin, October 4, 1861
Scope and Content

This folder contains a letter from Melvin Hunt to hsi sister, written on October 4, 1861. He writes of helping to build a fortress near the capital (complete with a small drawing), sending money home, and his intention to write more. He also includes several lines of poetry.

Box-Folder 1
24
Lacaster, G. W. (Whit), February 25, 1862
Scope and Content

This folder consists of a letter from G. W. (Whit) Lacaster to Melia, written at Manasses, February 25, 1862. He writes of mutual friends, mentions a blockade on the river, and the hope for an early victory.

Box-Folder 1
7
Lukens, Franklin B., September-December 1861
Scope and Content

F. B. Lukens wrote a letter to his mother and father on December 9, 1861. The letter is short and he mentions that there is a man missing who has not been found. He talks about a woman who is a Secessionist and her slaves. He closes by asking them to write soon. Transcript included. A second letter, donated in 2017, was written his brother from Virginia, September 1861, and discusses regiment news and a recent skirmish, and includes a request for items from home.

Biographical Note

Franklin B. Lukens served in Company E of the 3rd Regiment, New Jersey Infantry.

  • Letter, September 12, 1861
  • Letter, December 9, 1861
Box-Folder 1
25
Kyger, Henry, October 17, 1861
Scope and Content

This letter, written by Henry Kyger, was to his aunt and cousin, dated October 17, 1861. He writes of recent regiment activities, the location of the Confederate Army, his approval of General McClellan, and the destruction of the nearby countryside.

Box-Folder 1
8
Miller, Henry, October 13, 1861
Scope and Content

This letter is written by Henry Miller to his friend on October 13, 1861. He says we spend most of our time cutting down trees. He describes their his daily tasks and military procedures. He closes by saying they are camped 12 miles outside of Washington in Virginia. Transcript included.

Box-Folder 1
9
Nickerson, Melville P., September 21/24, 1861
Scope and Content

Melville Nickerson, of the 2nd Maine Infantry, wrote a long letter to his sister on September 21, 1861. He starts off the letter saying it will be a long letter, and then on September 24th he adds that he had not had a chance to write again because he was on duty and the rest of the letter is added on then. He has been working on cutting down trees so they have better range with their guns. The letter is written with an old fashioned quill pen. He describes some of the other letters he has received. He also talks about his travel through Boston. Transcript included.

Biographical Note

Melville P. Nickerson served in the 2nd Regiment, Maine Infantry.

Box-Folder 1
10
Penman, Abraham, October 13-14, 1861
Scope and Content

Abraham Penman wrote a letter to his wife on October 13, 1861. He says there numbers are increasing daily, and describes how their camp is set up. On the 14th, he adds he received a letter from her and is happy that everything is going well at home.

Biographical Note

Abraham Penman served in the 12th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry (41st Volunteers).

Box-Folder 1
11
Rappleyea, Jeremiah C., February 16, 1862
Scope and Content

J.C. Rappleyea wrote a letter to his mother on February 16, 1862, and also included with this letter is the envelope it was mailed in. He tells his mother about the weather and his location, and says he is happy she made it safely to his Uncle Josey's. He says they may be ordered to move to Kentucky soon and if so he will see fighting. The next time he is paid he will send some to his mother. He closes by saying he must go to church and includes a verse from a hymn.

Biographical Note

Jeremiah C. Rappleyea served in the 1st Regiment, New Jersey Infantry, Company H.

Box-Folder 1
12
Stewart, Peter, September 18, 1861
Scope and Content

Peter Stewart's letter is to his sister and was written on September 18, 1861. He says he is in good health but ahs not written often because the company has had hard times. He mentions Bull Run. He describes a skirmish, and mentions William and his good health. He closes by saying he hopes the war doesn't last much longer and that he has to go back to work.

Biographical Note

Peter Stewart enlisted in the 79th NY Highland Guard with his brother, William, in May 1861.

Box-Folder 1
26
Stickley, Peter H., August 13, 1861
Biographical Note

Peter Stickley was born in November 1825, likely to Jacob H. and Catherine Stickley. He enlisted with the 10th Regiment, Virginia Infantry in April 1861. He died of disease at home in Strasburg, Virginia, in December 1861.

Scope and Content

This folder contains a letter from Peter Stickely to his parents and family, dated August 13, 1861, from Fairfax Station, Virginia. Stickley writes of the weather, his regiment's location, the availabilty of supplies, regiment life, and things he would like from home.

Box-Folder 1
13
Turrill, Reuben, March 7, 1862
Scope and Content

Reuben Turrill's letter is written to his Uncle and Aunt Covill on March 7, 1862. He describes the brigade drill he has been participating in, and says they should receive orders soon. He says he likes being a soldier more than he thought he would, but still it is not the life he wants. The envelope is included with the letter. Transcript Included.

Box-Folder 1
14
Van Fleet, Abraham, September 1861
Scope and Content

Abraham Van Fleet wrote two letters to his parents in September 1861. The first letter was written on September 10, 1861, and the envelope is included with the letter. He describe his daily duties such as picket guard, and says the rebels fired cannons at them. He says as soon as he gets his pay he will send as much as he can spare to them. The second letter was written on September 30, 1861. He says that they have possession of Rebel entrenchments and describes how they got them. He says he also sent them the Baltimore Clipper which describes how they took the Hills. Transcripts included.

Box-Folder 1
29
Way, Alexander, August-December 1861
Biographical Note

Alexander Way was born in 1826. In October 1851, he married Emeline Seriur (who he calls "Emy" in his letters). The couple had at least four children. Prior to the Civil War, he worked as a bookkeeper. Way enlisted with Company G, 1st New Jersey Volunteer Infantry as a captain in 1861. In 1863, he transferred to Company S and was promoted to major. He was wounded at Wilderness in 1864, and between that and his service at Gaines Farm in 1863, he was brevetted lieutenant colonel in 1865. Following the war, he worked in real estate and insurance. Way died in 1890 and is buried in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Scope and Content

This folder includes four letters from Alexander Way to his wife, Emy, written between September and December 1861. He writes about his concerns for her and their children, exchanges of mail/packages/money, and regiment orders and activites (including visiting a captured and wounded prisoner in the hospital).

  • Letter, August 28, 1861
  • Letter, September 27, 1861
  • Letter, December 2, 1861
  • Letter, December 24, 1861
Box-Folder 1
27
[Unknown], David, December 10, 1861
Scope and Content

This folder includes a letter from "David" to "Respected Friend Kate," from Camp Pierpont, December 10, 1861. He writes of his company's health, who is visiting home on furlough, a foraging expedition, and regiment life.

Box-Folder 1
28
[Unknown], Frank, August 5, 1861
Scope and Content

This folder contains a letter from "Frank" to his cousin Henry, written from Georgetown on August 5, 1861. Frank writes of a visit from someone who fought at Manassas and the details of the battle and family news, especially his uncle's possible plans to sell land.

Box-Folder 1
15
[Unknown], Jonathan, August 26, 1861
Scope and Content

This letter is written by Jonathan [Unknown] to Sallie and was written on August 26, 1861. He starts off saying that he knows she complains he doesn't write often but he writes as often as he could. She wants to visit him, but he says as happy as that would make him there is no where for them to stay. He talks about the clothing she sent him. He says the health of his regiment is not good and several have died of pneumonia. He says that he thinks they will advance on Washington soon. He tells her to give his love to several people. Transcript included.

Folder 1
Print, "Return of Federal Foraging Parties into Camp, NE Annandale Chapel, Va.," n.d.

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Ash, William (3rd Regiment, Vermont Infantry)
  • Baskin, J. T.
  • Cole, Henry
  • Cole, Luther
  • Davis, George E. , d.1863 (Company F, Harris Light Cavalry)
  • Dixon, William D.
  • Edwards, Clarke S. (Clarke Swett), 1824-1903
  • Gerry, C. E.
  • Green, Josiah M.
  • Gregory, W. B. (William Bartleman), 1829-1887
  • Guion, J. Marshall, 1822-1891
  • Hanna, James W.
  • Hersum, George L. (5th Regiment, New Hampshire Infantry)
  • Hunt, Melvin (72nd Regiment, New York Infantry)
  • Kyger, Henry C. (5th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry)
  • Lacaster, G. W.
  • Lukens, Franklin B. (Company E, 3rd Regiment, New Jersey Infantry)
  • Miller, Henry
  • Nickerson, Melville P. (2nd Regiment, Maine Infantry)
  • Penman, Abraham (12th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry (41st Volunteers))
  • Rappleyea, Jeremiah C. (1st Regiment, New Jersey Infantry)
  • Stewart, Peter (79th NY Highland Guard)
  • Stickely, Peter H. (1825-1861)
  • Turrill, Reuben
  • Van Fleet, Abraham
  • Way, Alexander M. (Alexander Moore), 1826-1890