The Resource Originals unavailable due to conservation needs. Photocopies have been supplied in their place

Originals unavailable due to conservation needs. Photocopies have been supplied in their place

Label
1864-1865
Inclusive dates
1864-1865
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
  • Letters, 1864-1865, of William Boyd Compton (1838-1898) of Marion County, West Virginia, to his fiancee Kate Kerr (1844-1920) also of Fairmont, Marion County. The subject of the letters includes personal news and war news, including discussion of the closing months of the Civil War, the end of the 1864 Shenandoah Valley campaign, the siege of Petersburg and the death of General John Pegram (1832-1865), Compton's trip behind Union army lines to Highland County, his belief that the Confederacy would still gain its independence, and his intentions to travel south and fight until the last gun. Letters also describe Compton's efforts to relocate and pursue a career as a lawyer and deciding on Harrisonburg, Virginia. Compton also attempts to arrange a date and location for his wedding to Kate Kerr, stating that his reputation might prevent them from marrying in West Virginia, where she resides, but finally adding that he has received a special pardon from the President of the United States, Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), which allays his concerns. Compton mentions his cousin the Confederate spy Belle Boyd (1844-1900)
  • Parts of some letters are in code. The code has been deciphered as follows: 1=G, 2=E, 3=D, 4=A, 5=H, 6=B, 7=F, 8=I, 9=C, 13=P, 14=O, 15=Y, 16=N, 17=K, 19=M, 20=T, 21=U, 22=V, 23=L, 24=S, 25=W, 26=R. Letters J, Q, X, and Z and numbers 10, 11, 12, and 18 are not used in these letters
Member of
Action
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
William Boyd Compton was born 24 October 1838 in Georgetown, District of Columbia. In 1857, he moved to Fairmont, Marion County, (West) Virginia, to study law. He was admitted to the bar in 1859 and commenced practicing in Marion County. When the Civil War began, Compton enlisted in Company A, 31st Virginia Infantry 10 August 1861. In March 1863, he was sent back to Marion County behind Union lines to recruit a company of irregulars. Captured out of uniform and with incriminating papers on him, Compton was sent to Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was sentenced to hang. However, Compton escaped 15 May 1864 and he rejoined his company. Compton also may have served as a captain in McNeil's Rangers. After the Civil War ended, Compton settled in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he began practicing law in the firm of Bryan and Woodson until 1866, then Woodson and Compton until 1875, then on his own. He married Kate M. Kerr (1844-1920) 23 November 1865, probably in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and they had three children. Compton died 24 July 1898 in Rawley Springs, Rockingham County, Virginia, and was buried in Woodbine Cemetery in Harrisonburg.
Cataloging source
Vi
Form designation
Letters
Label
Originals unavailable due to conservation needs. Photocopies have been supplied in their place
Note
Originals unavailable due to conservation needs. Photocopies have been supplied in their place
http://library.link/vocab/branchCode
  • The Library of Virginia
Extent
28
Immediate source of acquisition
Evans, George Bird, Mr. and Mrs.
http://library.link/vocab/recordID
000487528
Type of unit
p.

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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