Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
James M. M. Davis Diary, 1863-1865

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Mary Parsons, June 2010, and Meg Hixon, October 2011

Summary Information
Title: James M. M. Davis diary
Creator: Davis, James M. M., 1847-1883
Inclusive dates: 1863-1865
Extent: 1 volume
The James M. M. Davis diary covers the Confederate soldier's experiences prior to and during his service with the 1st Virginia Rockbridge Artillery regiment during the Civil War. Davis participated in the final Virginia campaign, and described the military engagements of his unit while reporting news of Confederate armies elsewhere.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2010. M-4796.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

James M. M. Davis Diary, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


James M. M. Davis, a great-great grandnephew of Thomas Jefferson, was born on August 26, 1847, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Davis served in the Home Guard prior to enlisting in the Confederate Army on June 29, 1864, and saw action with Captain Archibald Graham's company of the 1st Virginia Rockbridge Artillery. Davis returned home on April 14, 1865, after his unit surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, and resumed his studies at the University of Virginia, from which he graduated with a law degree in 1868. He began a legal practice in Charlottesville and later moved to Richmond, where he joined the firm Kean & Davis. Davis died of consumption on July 24, 1883.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The James M. M. Davis diary covers the Confederate soldier's experiences prior to and during his service with the 1st Virginia Rockbridge Artillery regiment during the Civil War. Davis described his unit's military engagements as they participated in the final Virginia campaign. The first entries, which begin on April 3, 1863, cover five Home Guard campaigns in which Davis participated prior to his enlistment; his unit traveled to Monticello, Gordonsville, Wytheville, Charlottesville, and Mechum's River, where they engaged in a few light skirmishes. On June 6, 1864, Davis "[l]eft home for the war," and the remainder of the diary chronicles his life in the Confederate Army, including several conflicts with Yankee troops. Though he focused primarily on his own experiences, Davis occasionally reported briefly on developments elsewhere in the war. As Confederate hopes deteriorated in the spring of 1865, he "[m]arched to within 4 miles of Appomattox Court House" (April 8, 1865), where he surrendered (April 9, 1865). Davis wrote his final diary entry on April 14, 1865, after his return home. Included are a copy of General Lee's farewell address, transcribed at Appomattox (pp. 64-67), and a map of Union and Confederate lines at Ft. Gilmore.

Subject Terms

    • Appomattox Campaign, 1865.
    • Confederate States of America. Army. Virginia Artillery. Rockbridge Battery, 1st.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.
    • Virginia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    James M. M. Davis diary,  1863-1865 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The Clements Library holds the following volume:

    Moore, Edward Alexander. The Story of a Cannoneer Under Stonewall Jackson, In Which Is Told the Part Taken by the Rockbridge Artillery In the Army of Northern Virginia. 2nd ed. Lynchburg, Virginia: J.P. Bell Co., 1910.

    The University of Virginia holds the Eugene Davis papers, which include correspondence from James M. M. Davis during his time in the Confederate Army.


    "Reminiscences of Some of the Dead of the Bench and Bar of Richmond." Virginia Law Register 14.11 (March 1909): 817-835.