Old Dominion University Libraries

Special Collections & University Archives

Events & Exhibits

Search Special Collections


Monday - Friday:
9 am - 4:30 pm

Other times by appointment


The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.

Contact Information

Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-4483
fax (757) 683-5954


Civil War - Introduction

This guide describes the manuscript collections containing materials for Civil War research in the Special Collections of the Library at Old Dominion University. The collections are few in number but rich in material containing diaries, correspondence, orders, dispatches, reports, petitions, telegrams and currency. This material covers a wide variety of events, attitudes, and perspectives, from both the Confederate States and United States. Politics, military affairs, life as a soldier and the hardships of war are all documented in these collections. The descriptions primarily discuss the papers of the collections which pertain to the Civil War; however, the preceding decades and Reconstruction are also described.

The entries are arranged alphabetically, including the collection number, the inclusive dates of the collection and the collection's size. Please note the collection number because it acts as the location code. Electronic finding aids are available where highlighted. All other finding aids are available in the repository.


RG 95 The Personal Papers of Elizabeth Calvert Page Dabney, 1812 to 1943. 1 Hollinger Documents Case.

Includes the diary of Camilla Frances Loyall describing the occupation of Norfolk during the Civil War, and the wartime accounts of Captain William C. Whittle during his service on the Confederate steamers, the " Shenandoah " and the " Nashville."

MG-18 Hiram F. Glazier Papers, 1861-1863. 1 Hollinger Documents Case.

Papers consists of correspondence during Hiram Glazier's service in the Confederate Army to family and friends and a copy of the official Southern national poem, "The Southerner's Banner."

MG-26 Edward F. Hewins Papers, 1856-1957. 1 Hollinger Documents Case.

Consists of records primarily relating to Edward's father Captain Charles E. Hewins, a Union soldier during the Civil War who settled in Hampton, Virginia after the war. Correspondence from the Civil War period provides information on Lincoln's assassination, General Sherman's southern campaign, the Battle of Galveston in January of 1863, and life as a prisoner-of-war in New Orleans. The Charles Hewins letters also provide an interesting perspective on secessionist activities and social attitudes toward the black freedman from the eyes of a Northerner.

MG-49 Hodges Family Papers, 1754-1979. 1 Hollinger Documents Case; 1 Oversized Box.

Contains correspondence dating from the Civil War between William H. H. Hodges to his wife Abigail while a prisoner of the Union army. The collection also contains information on Colonel James Gregory Hodges of the 14th Virginia Regiment killed during Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, July 1863. The correspondence of Union Captain Ainsworth, a Hodges family relative through marriage, contains letters of recommendation for distinguished service during the war from General A. H. Terry and General O. O. Babcock, Grant's aide-de-camp.

MG-7 Robert Morton Hughes Papers, 1767-1959. 39 Hollinger Flat Boxes; 5 Hollinger Oversized Boxes and Additional Bound Volumes.

Significant aspect of this collection is the correspondence and other papers originally belonging to several of  Hughes' relatives including Robert W. Hughes, John B. Floyd, and Joseph E. Johnston. Papers document political attitudes in the 1850s, Floyd's service as a Confederate Brigadier General, military activities in West Virginia in 1861, the Battles of Fort Donelson, Franklin and Nashville, the relationship between Johnston and Jefferson Davis, Reconstruction, and efforts after the war to write the history of various battles and campaigns. Drafts of Johnston's memoirs discuss the early battles in Virginia and his campaigns against Sherman around and the Carolinas. Notable correspondents include Henry Wise, Wade Hampton, James Longstreet, Jubal Early, and William Mahone. The collection also contains material pertaining to Hughes' activities as an amateur historian writing on Virginia and Civil War history.

MG-43 Captain Samuel J. Major Collection, 1861-1865. 1 Hollinger Documents Case.

Contains letters, orders, and dispatches primarily concerning General William French and the activities of the Army of the Potomac in November and December of 1863. Of particular importance are the compiled copies, including index, of the orders and dispatches of the Left Wing, Army of the Potomac from November 6-9, 1863 and the General Henry Prince's operations report of his division's activities beyond the Rapidan River, December 6, 1863.

MG-23 Robert W. Rose Papers, 1809-1947. 1 Hollinger Documents Case.

Contains a petition to the Provisional Confederate Congress seeking financial compensation for six runaway slaves. Dated May 14, 1863 the petition was written on behalf of Dr. Robert W. Rose of Norfolk.

MG-10 General James W. Singleton Papers, 1770-1975. 35 Hollinger Documents Cases; 1 Hollinger Drop-Front Print Box and 1 Hollinger Oversize Newspaper Box.

Records concerning the Civil War include correspondence containing references to political attitudes before the war on slavery and secession,   activities of Peace Democrats during the war, the supplying of Illinois Volunteer Regiments, Lincoln's assassination and efforts to secure peace with the Confederate States of America toward the end of the war. Correspondents include Clement Vallandigham, Richard Yates, Ulysses S. Grant, John A.  McClernand and James Shields.

MG-30 Eloise Word Skewis Collection, 1777-1914. 115 Items.

Contains records from a wide variety of sources documenting economic transactions in antebellum Virginia including the buying, selling and hiring out of slaves. Material pertaining to the Civil War includes Confederate war bonds of various denominations.

MG-11 Thom Williamson Papers, 1853-1913. Two Hollinger Documents Cases.

Contains several items pertaining to the Civil War including orders issued to Williamson for various assignments and a handwritten copy of a report on the Confederate ironclad Tennessee captured at the Battle of Mobile Bay. This report is particularly important due to the detailed description of the Tennessee's design and the damages inflicted upon it by the Union naval forces.

RG 17- 5B2 Harold S. Wilson, 1813-1978. Half Hollinger Document Case
Professor of History at Old Dominion University. This small collection includes documents Wilson collected that relate to personal experiences and tributes of Confederate soldiers in Virginia Companies.  Topics include primary accounts of Virginia battles, daily soldier life, military morale, and southern ideologies. Highlights of this collection are: letters to Preston Brooks; correspondence of Col. Jos T. Cosby; an obituary of Col. Joseph Cabell; correspondence of solider Wm H. Farrabee; papers concerning soldier William L Fontaine and his family estate; and an eulogy of Col. James C. Reed.

Revised: 9/18/2009