Civil War Diarists of Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg, Virginia was occupied on three separate occasions by Union forces. These 'invasions' had an impact on the townspeople. The diaries of Fredericksburg residents allow us to experience their anxiety and fear toward enemy armies, as well as the loss of loved ones and the damage or destruction of homes and personal property.

Elizabeth Maxwell Alsop

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Maxwell Alsop began writing her Civil War diary in 1862. She was the sixteen-year-old daughter of …Read More...

Union and Confederate Women Who Kept Diaries

The small town of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia changed hands between the Confederate Army and Union Army numerous times during the Civil War. The town's strategic location included a network of seven major roads that radiated out toward other towns and cities; two of the roads were macadamized. This road system made the town a major trade center in the Valley.

Image: Mary Greenhow Lee, Winchester's most prolific diarist and …Read More...

Witness to the Burning of Columbia, South Carolina

Emma Leconte was only seventeen years old when she recorded in her diary the systematic burning of Columbia, SC during General Sherman's Carolinas Campaign. During the war Emma remained in the city with her mother, while her father Joseph LeConte, a former professor at South Carolina College, worked as a chemist in the Confederate States Nitre and Mining Bureau attempting to make gunpowder for the Confederate army.

After completing his famous March …Read More...

A Union Soldier's Letter to His Wife

Image: Sullivan and Sarah Ballou

Sarah Ballou's husband, Sullivan, left his family, law practice and a promising political career to enlist in the Union Army. On July 14, 1861, Sullivan Ballou wrote a poignant letter to his wife, expressing his love for her and his patriotism toward his country. A week later he fought in the first battle of the Civil War at Bull Run. Sarah would not see this letter for many …Read More...