A Guide to the Duke Family Papers Duke family. 9521-j

A Guide to the Duke Family Papers

A Collection in the
Special Collections Department
Accession number 9521-j


University of Virginia Library

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4110
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© 1997 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.

Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Special Collections Department Staff

University of Virginia. Library. Special Collections Dept. Alderman Library University of Virginia Charlottesville, Virginia 22903 USA
Collection Number
Duke Family Papers 1836 and 1865-1919
21 items
William E. Duke and Mrs. Gerald C. Kinne

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

Duke Family Papers, Accession 9521-j, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library

Acquisition Information

This collection was given to the Library on April 15, 1987 by Mr. William E. Duke of Richmond, Virginia, and Mrs. Gerald C. Kinne of Setauket, New York.

Funding Note

Funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Scope and Content

This addition to the papers of the Duke family of Charlottesville, Virginia , consists of twenty-one items, 1836, and 1865-1919, chiefly the correspondence of Colonel Richard Thomas Walker Duke and his son, Judge Richard Thomas Walker Duke, Jr.

One letter to Col. Duke (February 6, 1865) from W. F. Alexander , concerns the claim of the Albemarle Poor House for wood used by the Confederate troops while encamped upon land adjacent to their property. There are four letters from Col. Duke to his wife, Elizabeth Eskridge Duke , written while he was a prisoner of war on Johnson's Island , a Union prison camp at Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie , for Confederate officers. Col. Duke was sent there after being captured on April 6, 1865 at Sayler's Creek.

Duke reports that the prisoners of war received good treatment from General Ulysses S. Grant 's men, who divided their rations with them and did not submit them to taunts or insults during the march north, and he also mentions that the living conditions of the prison itself were quite bearable (April 20, 1865).

In a later letter (June 9, 1865), he asks his wife to write a letter to President Andrew Johnson for his release as all officers above the rank of major will be released only upon special application. He tells her to bring up several points in her petition: 1) he is needed at home to provide for her and their children, 2) he has no influential friends to work on his behalf to secure his release, 3) he is opposed to guerilla war and he refused to allow his son William to join John Singleton Mosby's Raiders .

Duke reports the release of all prisoners below the rank of major and again requests his wife's aid in securing a special release for himself. In this letter (June 10, 1865), he suggests that she write to General Grant telling him that their income is limited, he is needed at home, she will be responsible for his good behavior, he is opposed to guerilla war, and that he applied on April 25 to take the amnesty oath. In addition, he tells her to go to the commander of the Federal forces in Charlottesville and ask him to write to General Grant to secure a release for him based on character references from leading citizens of Charlottesville . Col. R. T. W. Duke also furnishes a detailed description of the Johnson's Island prison and the place of confinement called the "Bull pen", mentioning the gardens of some of the officers, the rations of bread, meat, salt, soap, beans, and hominy, and the presence of a sutter and his store in the pen.

In the fourth letter, he writes concerning the decision of his former slave Jane to leave the Duke farm before his return home, and he tells his wife to get the others to stay on until he can negotiate their hire (June 29, 1865).

Other family letters include one from Col. Duke to his son, R. T. W. Duke, Jr. describing a fierce political vote in the Virginia General Assembly during the readjuster controversy (January 25, 1880), and letters from Mary Duke , Eskridge Duke , Walker Duke , and Jack Duke concerning family news.

Letters from John Singleton Mosby to R.T.W. Duke, Jr. written while Mosby was employed for the United States Justice Department contain the following topics: Mosby calls the attempt to blame James Ewell Brown Stuart for the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg as "one of the greatest crimes in history" (April 17, 1908); Mosby discourses on his great distaste for the "profession" of football in the universities and argues that "it is more talked about at the University than literature or science"; he bemoans the irony that "Cockfighting is a criminal offense in Virginia but killing a man at football is not" (December 1, 1909); and he speaks with pleasure of his reception at the University of Virginia and in Albemarle County (May 10, 1915).

Other printed or miscellaneous items include an invitation to the inauguaration of Edwin A. Alderman as president of the University of Virginia on April 13, 1905; a postcard picture of Confederate veterans taken at the unveiling of the Confederate Soldier's Monument at Buckingham Court House on June 30, 1908, which included R. T. W. Duke, Jr. ; and the British Identity Book issued to R. T. W. Duke, Jr. on February 5, 1919.

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Andrew Johnson
  • Edwin A. Alderman
  • Elizabeth Eskridge Duke
  • Eskridge Duke
  • Jack Duke
  • James Ewell Brown Stuart
  • Jane
  • John Singleton Mosby
  • Mary Duke
  • R. T. W. Duke
  • R. T. W. Duke, Jr.
  • R.T.W. Duke, Jr.
  • Richard Thomas Walker Duke
  • Richard Thomas Walker Duke, Jr.
  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • W. F. Alexander
  • Walker Duke

Significant Places Associated With the Collection

  • Albemarle County
  • Charlottesville
  • Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Gettysburg
  • Johnson's Island
  • Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie
  • Sayler's Creek.