James M. M. Davis diary  1863-1865
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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.

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