Valley of the Shadow
The War Years
Spring 1861–Spring 1865

Letters & Diaries


Wilson Family (1863)

Both Joseph and Peter Wilson were born in Augusta County, Virginia. Joseph moved to Missouri before the war, but returned to Virginia when the war began. Peter remained in Augusta County, probably living and working on the family farm. Both Wilsons enlisted in the Confederate military in April 1861. Joseph served in the 14th Virginia Cavalry and was promoted to captain by 1863. In August 1864 he lost his arm during a charge against Federal forces in Moorefield, West Virginia, and never returned to the service. Peter Wilson served in the 5th Virginia Infantry and was also promoted to captain. After being wounded twice in 1864, he was assigned to find “absentees” in Augusta County. Both Wilsons survived the war, dying in Augusta County in the early twentieth century. Joseph's epitaph in Hebron Presbyterian Church Cemetery reads “There was not a truer, more faithful, and braver soldier in our army.”

The following links provide access to the most likely matches in the Valley of the Shadow databases:

Joseph A. Wilson

Peter E. Wilson

Henry H. Hamilton

Joseph and Peter Wilson wrote these letters to Henry H. Hamilton after their enlistment in April 1861 in the 14th Virginia Cavalry and 5th Virginia Infantry, respectively. Henry H. Hamilson, an Augusta County farmer, joined Company H of the 5th Virginia Infantry in October 1864. This collection also includes one letter written by Joseph to his sister Bell.