Guide to the William Darke Briscoe Civil War diaries collection

William Darke Briscoe Civil War diaries C0239


Published by George Mason University Libraries

Contact Information:

Fenwick Library (2FL)

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444

USA

Phone: (703) 993-2220

Fax: (703) 993-8911

Email: speccoll@gmu.edu

URL: http://scrc.gmu.edu

Contents List

Repository George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections Research Center
creator Briscoe, William Darke, 1832-1906
Title William Darke Briscoe Civil War diaries collection
Dates: 1861-1862, 2013
Physical Characteristics 0.25 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract Approximately 22,500 words total, a detailed manuscript account, in diary form, of long periods of the first two years of the Civil War in Virginia, April 18- August 12, 1861, and April 10- September 8, 1862. The diaries contain eye-witness accounts of Civil War battles, social commentary on life during wartime, and detailed descriptions of travel in Virginia, including trips to Montpelier and Weyer's Cave. The first diary features a detailed double-page manuscript map of the first Battle of Bull Run.
Collection Number C0239
Language English

Biographical Information

William Darke Briscoe (1832-1906), a native of Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), enlisted in the Confederate army at the outbreak of the Civil War, and he was assigned quartermaster to the local company. He served through the war, eventually rising to the rank of captain in the 12th Virginia Cavalry. John S. Mosby, in his "Stuart's Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign" includes a paragraph concerning Briscoe's delivery of a dispatch at the end of June 1863, from northern Virginia to Robert E. Lee's headquarters in Pennsylvania. The balance of what seems to be known of Briscoe's service in the war is contained in the diaries in this collection. Following the war Briscoe returned to Charles Town and to farming, marrying and raising a family of six children. In 1903 he published "Evett's Run," a long poem based on Jefferson County's local traditions, in the West Virginia Historical Magazine (Vol. 3, October, 1903).

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Scope and Contents note

Approximately 22,500 words total, a detailed manuscript account, in diary form, of long periods of the first two years of the Civil War in Virginia, April 18- August 12, 1861, and April 10- September 8, 1862. The diaries contain eye-witness accounts of Civil War battles, social commentary on life during wartime, and detailed descriptions of travel in Virginia, including trips to Montpelier and Weyer's Cave. The first diary features a detailed double-page manuscript map of the first Battle of Bull Run.

The diaries describe Briscoe's activities, moods, and thoughts from the opening of the war at Harper's Ferry through the first Battle of Bull Run and during the 1862 spring and summer campaigns in Virginia, from Jackson's valley campaign to the eve of the battle at Antietam. Included are accounts of his foraging expeditions to supply his troops, eyewitness accounts of battle, reports and rumors from other quarters, reconstruction of extensive conversations and encounters with comrades, neighbors, and other fellow Southerners, including would-be girlfriends, commentary on the war, and long descriptive travelogues describing famous and not-so-famous areas he traversed. The diaries focus as much on the social aspects of the struggle as the military. Miscellaneous manuscript notes appear on the endpapers and final leaves of second volume. The handwriting is a little difficult to read, but provide a detailed first-hand account of five months from each of the first two years of the Civil War. The collection also contains a rough typescript of volume one and a typescript of several lengthy passages from volume two. The book dealer that sold SC&A the diaries created the typescripts.

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Arrangement

The collection is organized by format.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions on personal use. Permission to publish material from William Darke Briscoe Civil War Diaries collection must be obtained from Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center holds other collections pertaining to local history and the Civil War, including the Milton Barnes papers and the Alexander Haight family collection .

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Index Terms

Persons:

Briscoe, William Darke, 1832-1906.

Geographical Names:

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.

Document Types:

Diaries.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

William Briscoe Darke Civil War Diaries collection, #C0239, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from L&T Respess Books in June 2013.

Processing Information

Processing completed by Jordan Patty in September 2013. EAD markup completed by Jordan Patty in September 2013.

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Contents List

Series 1: Civil War diaries, 1861-1862 (2 folders)
Box Folder
1 1 Volume 1, 1861
2 Volume 2, 1862
Series 2: Typescripts, 2013 (1 folder)
Box Folder
1 3 Typescripts, 2013
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