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The Civil War experiences of Virginians from all walks of life and all corners of the state can be found at the Library of Virginia. The papers of Governors John Letcher, William “Extra Billy” Smith, and Francis H. Pierpont; military rosters, reports, and orders; diaries, letters, and photographs of soldiers blue and gray; county reports on indigent soldiers’ families and minutes of Boards of Exemption; records of state agencies; and both Confederate and Union documents—all detail the Civil War in Virginia. The Library of Virginia houses nearly 2,000 (and growing) collections of state records, local records, and private papers chronicling life in Virginia during the conflict of 1861-1865. Military life, politics, business, and the homefront are all documented in collections ranging in size from one leaf of paper to almost 600 cubic feet (Tredegar Iron Works records). Now, information about all of these collections is gathered in the Civil War Records in the Archives Guide, an online resource located on the Library of Virginia’s website.
The guide is organized alphabetically by name of the individual, organization, business, or political entity that created the record and includes a letter index at its top to facilitate searching. Each entry contains name, title of the collection (whether a private papers collection or a public record), date range and size, accession number, a description of the material, and whether the materials are originals or copies. Entries link to catalog records and, where applicable, to online finding aids and databases created for the collections. The Civil War Records in the Archives Guide will be updated on a regular basis as new collections are added to the Library and catalogued. Jason Roma and Doc Frank of the Library’s IT department provided the necessary technical work to make the guide a valuable online resource.
-Trenton Hizer, Senior Finding Aids Archivist