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Collection Number: 05010-z

Collection Title: H. C. Williams Journal, 1861

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the microfilming of this collection.

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Size 1 items
Abstract H. C. Williams (fl. 1845-1861) appears to have been a well-off landowner living in the vicinity of Fairfax Courthouse, Va., during the first Battle of Bull Run. H. C. Williams's son, Frank Williams (fl. 1861), was regularly employed as a scout between July and December 1861 by Confederate Brigadier General Milledge Bonham (1813-1890). The Civil War era journal of H. C. Williams of Virginia describes troop movements of both the Union army and the Confederate army in and around Fairfax Courthouse, Va., during the period between the first Battle of Bull Run on 21 July 1861 and 26 December 1861. Williams also summarized or copied many newspaper articles on military life and about the course of the war during this time period, including reports of infantry and naval campaigns. In October 1861, Williams reported observing a balloon reconnaissance of Confederate troop positions by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe (1832-1913).
Creator Williams, H. C., fl. 1845-1861.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the H. C. Williams Journal #5010-z, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed 2007) available.
  • Reel 1: Entire collection
Acquisitions Information
Received from Mrs. Archie K. Davis through the North Carolina Collection in January 2000 (Acc. 98544).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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H. C. Williams (fl. 1845-1861) appears to have been a well-off landowner living in the vicinity of Fairfax Courthouse, Va., during the first Battle of Bull Run, which he variously refers to as the Battle of the Stone Bridge or Battle of Manassas. H. C. Williams, according to a letter, dated 6 October 1854, that was copied into his journal, had been involved in developing the horticulture of fruit trees on his land in northern Virginia, coaxing strains of pear and apple, usually cultivated farther north, to flourish in Virginia's warmer, dryer climate. He also referred to having been in charge of applications for commissions in the ten regiments authorized by Congress to be raised for the Mexican War during the Polk administration.

H. C. Williams's son, Frank Williams (fl. 1861), though not enlisted in the army, was regularly employed as a scout between July and December 1861 by Confederate Brigadier General Milledge Bonham (1813-1890).

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The Civil War era journal of H. C. Williams of Virginia describes troop movements of both the Union army and the Confederate army in and around Fairfax Courthouse, Va., during the period between the first Battle of Bull Run on 21 July 1861 and 26 December 1861. Williams also summarized or copied many newspaper articles on military life and about the course of the war during this time period, including reports of infantry and naval campaigns. In October 1861, Williams reported observing a balloon reconnaissance of Confederate troop positions by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe (1832-1913).

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Journal, 23 July 1861-26 December 1861.

1 volume.

H. C. Williams's journal, dated 23 July 1861 through 26 December 1861, consists of pages numbered by hand from 1 to 300 in the upper right or left corner of each page. All entries appear to be in the handwriting of H. C. Williams, except for a page of soldiers' autographs; handwritten passes for either H. C. Williams or his son, Frank Williams; and a few newspaper clippings pasted into the front cover.

H. C. Williams recorded troop movements of both Union and Confederate forces in and around Fairfax Courthouse during the period between the first Battle of Bull Run on 21 July 1861 and 26 December 1861. He also summarized or copied by hand many newspaper articles about the course of the war. Williams usually dated his journal entries, and, in the case of newspaper articles, he identified the title of the newspaper and sometimes the name of the particular correspondent responsible for the article. Virginia newspapers predominate; they include the Richmond Dispatch, Richmond Enquirer, and Richmond Examiner. However, British, northern, and other papers from the southern states are also represented.

Journal entries demonstrate Williams's lively interest in and grasp of the politics of the day. Interspersed with the narrative are recollections of Williams's own political involvement. The journal indicates that Williams's knowledge of the neighborhood of Fairfax Courthouse, Alexandria, and Falls Church was extensive, as was his acquaintance with various political and military notables of the period.

In the entry of 12 October 1861, Williams recorded observing a balloon reconnaissance of Confederate troop positions by Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe (1832-1913).

Passes for H. C. Williams or his son, Frank Williams, allowing them to move among the lines of the Confederate army encamped at Fairfax Courthouse, Va., and in its environs, are either copied into the journal or the originals pasted into the journal. The Confederate army in Virginia is sometimes identified in the passes and by H. C. Williams as the Department of Alexandria, but usually as the Army of the Potomac; the Battle of Bull Run is also called the Battle of the Stone Bridge or the Battle of Manassas.

A letter from a Vermont soldier to his wife, dated 19 July 1861, and given to H. C. Williams after the Battle of Bull Run, is represented both by a copy in Williams's hand and an undated, typed transcript.

An unfinished index, apparently begun by Williams, covers A through C.

Folder 1

Journal, 23 July 1861-26 December 1861 #05010-z, Series: "Journal, 23 July 1861-26 December 1861." Folder 1

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Processing Information

Processed by: Aletha Andrew, July 2000

Encoded by: Aletha Andrew, July 2000

Revisions: Finding aid updated in February 2005 by Nancy Kaiser.

Funding from the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., supported the microfilming of this collection.

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