A Guide to the Thomas L. Preston Letter, 1860 Preston, Thomas L. Letter Ms2008-041

A Guide to the Thomas L. Preston Letter, 1860

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2008-041


Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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

© 2008 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections Staff

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Thomas L. Preston Letter 1860
Physical Characteristics
1 container; 0.1 cu. ft.
Preston, Thmas L.
: Letter from Campbell County, Virginia resident Thomas L. Preston to John M. Preston of Smyth County, Virginia. Discusses personal matters and health, ending with a note about the political climate and the possibility of impending war between the North and South.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Thomas L. Preston Letter must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Thomas L. Preston Letter, Ms2008-041 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Acquisition Information

The Thomas L. Preston Letter was purchased by Special Collections in 2008.

Processing Information

The processing and description of the Thomas L. Preston Letter commenced and was completed in July 2008.

Biographical Information

(Note: The precise identity of the Thomas L. Preston who wrote this letter could not be confirmed. The information that follows is for a Thomas L. Preston who may have been the letter's author.)

Thomas Lewis Preston, son of Francis and Sarah Buchanan Campbell Preston, was born in Abingdon, Virginia on November 20, 1812. He attended Washington College before graduating with a degree in law from the University of Virginia in 1833. In 1842 he settled in Smyth County, Virginia, where he eventually operated the family salt works, served as a director of Abingdon's branch of the Exchange Bank of Virginia, and represented Smyth County in the Virginia General Assembly. He also served on the governing boards of Emory and Henry College, Mary Washington College and Virginia Military Institute. Commissioned a captain at the outbreak of the Civil War, he served as assistant adjutant general under General Joseph E. Johnston. When his commission was revoked by the War Department, he declined a new commission as major. Moving to Albemarle County in 1863, Preston served as rector of the University of Virginia from 1864 to 1865. He married twice, first to Elizabeth Breckinridge Watts (ca.1822-1843) and later to Anna Maria Saunders (1825-1911). He died March 20, 1903 in Albemarle County.

Scope and Content

This collection contains a letter from Thomas L. Preston, of Campbell County, Virginia to John M. Preston, of Smyth County, Virginia. Dated from Yellow Branch P. O., the letter relates to personal matters and family health before ending with a brief discussion of the national political climate and the possibility of impending armed conflict. "Perhaps the direct consequences of the separation of political relations, war, may be near our hearthstone," Preston writes. "I do not know what to anticipate but I will ever be loyal to Virginia & follow my fight if necessary under her flag."

Index Terms


  • Preston, John M.
  • Subjects:

  • Civil War
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Contents List

Letter 1860
Folder 1