Monday, January 3, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: A Civil War Record

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch for providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

This is another transcription of a document from the papers of Maria Lee Palmer Smith (1844-1931), my husband's great-grandmother. It is a handwritten account of her brother's Civil War Service. She labeled it "Account of my brother's service in Confederate Army." The note is written on letterhead from the Virginia Club, Norfolk (VA). It is undated. Punctuation, format and spelling are retained from the original, though line breaks have been altered.

Left College, last of June - 1864 and temporarlly joined Genl Bradley T. Johnson's command, in Genl Earlys Army. Went on towards Washington, D.C. with Cavalry (1st Md Reg. I think) after the fight at Mon___y Junction. In a fight near Rockville had my horse shot through the mouth. We then crossed the Potomac and I left the Maryland Reg. and went home. In fall of 1864, joined Co. D. 9th Va Reg. and took part in all engagements until the surrender in Apr. 1865. My horse gave out and I walked home from Appomattox.

John Armstead Palmer, Maria Lee's younger brother, was born at Clifton near Kilmarnock (VA) 21 Jan 1846 and died there on 7 Dec 1929.  He was a student at Mount St. Mary's in Maryland when he left to fight. He received a Confederate Disability Pension payment of $35 in 1924 and is listed on a Company D roster of the 9th Virginia Cavalry compiled by Robert Krick. Both the Roster and Pension payment indicate that no official documents recorded Palmer's service, but sworn statements from fellow soldiers and United Daughters of the Confederacy rosters supported his service.

General Johnson's 1st Maryland fought at Monocacy Junction in June, 1864. They fought at Rockville on 13 July 1864 and crossed the Potomac the next day.  The 9th Virginia Cavalry fought in and around Petersburg (VA) during the fall of 1864 and spring of 1865.  They fought at Dinwiddie Courthouse on 31 March 1865 and surrendered at Appomattox on 9 April 1865.


  1. Walked home from Appomattox...

    One of my relatives walked home from Shreveport to Arkadelphia, AR after the war was over.

    They were done. They made it through alive. They were going home.

    Even if they had to walk every step of the way.

  2. What a gem of letter! I have three ancestors who served around Petersburg, all three dying by the end of October. How I wish I could stumble upon someone's recollection of their service!

  3. This is a real treasure -- comments on participation in a major historical event -- and great details (horse shot through the mouth! Could have been the brother, John! No wonder the poor horse gave out. And John walking home from Appamattox! I think this is something that would be valuable to Civil War historical document collections.

    BTW - thanks for your comment on my site! I'm so glad you're enjoying it!


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