Manuscript Resources on The Civil War

This guide describes collections documenting the Civil War in the Lower Mississippi Valley, including the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas, in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) at LSU. The guide includes not only materials from the war years (1861-1865) themselves, but also materials from later periods containing manuscript sources for Civil War history. Thus such sources as post-war reminiscences and records of veterans' groups--materials dealing with the war as memory and experience--will be found alongside soldiers' and civilians' letters, diaries, and daybooks from the war itself. In addition, the guide includes collections of papers of Louisiana and other area soldiers who fought outside of the Lower Mississippi Valley.

LSU's holdings of Civil War manuscripts make LLMVC a rich treasure-trove for researchers. Many researchers are studying these documents from new perspectives, to see what they have to tell us about women's experiences on the home front and about Louisiana's African Americans, a significant number of whom fought for the Union. Louisiana played a central role in the war, with the fall of Port Hudson in July 1863 a critical event. Much of the state was long occupied by Union forces, and LLMVC contains the papers of numerous Union as well as Confederate soldiers. Other areas of strength include materials documenting the siege of Vicksburg, the Battle of Shiloh, and the Red River campaign.

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Wilsford, Inez Smith, 1855-1939. Reminiscence, circa 1900-1939. 1 item [typed copy]. Location: Misc.:W. Resident of Ringgold, Georgia. Memories of the Civil War. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2671.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War

Wilson, James H. Letters, 1909, 1913. 2 items. Location: Misc.:W. Resident of Wilmington, Delaware, and cavalry officer in the Union army during the Civil War. Letters to Colonel Eben Swift. One compliments Swift on an article published in the "Journal of Military Service Institution;" the other comments on notices being given his book "Under the Old Flag." For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 986.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Literature

Wilton Plantation letter, 1863 April 1. 1 item. Location: Misc.:W. Cotton plantation apparently located in Louisiana and apparently owned by W. C. Wagley of Lake Providence. Letter from the plantation manager to Wagley reports on progress of picking and ginning operations under federal government contract and contraband labor. Information is provided about disposition of abandoned plantations and relations with freedmen. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2983.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Civil War, African Americans

Wimberly, Thomas J. Correspondence, 1861-1862. 5 items [photocopies]. Location: Misc. Resident of Sumter County, Alabama. Letters consist of Confederate soldier's letter describing reception of soldiers by civilians and letters concerning the death of a Confederate soldier in the Montgomery, Alabama, hospital. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2793.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, Medicine

Wise, James Calvert. Papers, 1860-1917. 1.75 linear ft., 2 volumes. Locations: UU:154-155, K:37, OS:W, Vault:1. Native of Maryland who settled in Rapides Parish, Louisiana. During the Civil War he organized the Red River Rebels, which became part of the First Louisiana Regiment. Wise owned Grand Bend Plantation on the Red River. Collection contains Wise's personal, political, business, and military papers. Printed items include Confederate tax forms, currency, a notice to planters and freedmen from the U.S. Army, and papers related to the Republican party. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3239.

Witherell, W. Frank. Papers, 1839-1958 (bulk 1860-1889). 6 linear ft. Location W:129-135, F:19, OS:W. Native of New York, West Point graduate, businessman and entrepreneur, in business with his uncle, W. H. H. Witherell, a New Orleans commission merchant and dealer. Correspondence related to the wholesale trade in hides and mining ventures in the West comprises the majority of this collection. Early papers relate to W. H. H. Witherell's dealings in Natchez and offer insight into the attitudes of West Point cadets towards the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (1860-1865). Items associated with the hide trade include, shipping records, invoices, bills of lading, bank drafts, and receipts. Additional papers pertaining to mining enterprises contain assay certificates, invoices, contracts, deeds and reports on mines. Also included is material related to extending telephone service west of the Mississippi River and a plantation journal recording daily work activities, and sugarcane production for Magnolia Plantation, Plaquemine Parish, La. (1877-1880). Mss. 1498, 1503, 1555, 1776.

Withers, John. Diaries, 1856-1862. 3 vols. (on microfilm). Location: Mss. Mf.:W United States Army officer. Diaries reflect Withers' military service as a career officer. He discusses his military service, social and personal life, religion, travel by steamer to Portland and Vancouver, and occasional problems with the Yakama Indians. Additionally, he comments on the political crisis in South, Abraham Lincoln's inauguration, and his resignation from the U.S. Army in order to support the Confederate cause. He describes events at the beginning of the Civil War, and his health and the health of family members. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1566.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, Politics, Civil War, Medicine

Witt, Josiah C. Letter to Mr. E. W. Witt, 1863 March 3-7. 1 item. Location: Misc:W. Union soldier in the 42nd Massachusetts Infantry in the Civil War. Witt's letter to his family describes his unit's activities at New Orleans, camp news, the lack of provisions for Confederate forces, the poor condition of prisoners taken at Galveston, and the surrender of Confederate officers. The letter also describes the lack of resistance to gun boats passing forts on the Mississippi River and the seizure and destruction of cotton along the river. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3659.

Wood, Robert C. Letter, 1864 September 17. 1 item. Location: Misc.:W. Confederate cavalry officer. Letter to Confederate General Wirt Adams discusses disposition of a shipment of Enfield rifles. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2942.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War

Wood, William H. Letter, 1861. 1 item. Location: Misc.:W. William H. Wood was a corporal in the Union army. In a letter to Mr. Tabor, Wood requests an Indian rubber blanket. Writing from near Arlington Heights, Wood refers fondly to the Battle of Ball's Bluff, describes the rebel yell of Mississippi troops, and mentions Falls Church. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3964.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War