John B. Baldwin, a former Confederate colonel, was active in postwar politics. Baldwin served in the Virginia General Assembly and numbered among the “Committee of Nine.” In this pamphlet (1866) published by the Staunton Spectator, Baldwin and other prominent Virginians give contrasting accounts of his meeting with President Lincoln on April 4, 1861, to discuss keeping Virginia in the Union.
Francis McFarland was a Presbyterian minister in Augusta County, where he lived with his wife and two sons after the war. McFarland’s diary (1859-1869) slows in the years after the close of the war, as his health declines. Commenting occasionally about Reconstruction, McFarland spends most of his time discussion daily life and his ongoing health problems. He briefly describes how the family brought the remains of Robert—McFarland’s son who died fighting for the Confederacy—back to Augusta County, and notes his dealings with the Freedmen’s Bureau agent in Staunton.
John Nadenbousch wrote about the conditions in Augusta County immediately after the end of the war, including his distaste for the loyalty oath, postwar economic hardships, and the local political climate. John continued to live in Staunton and run the American Hotel as late as 1866, while his wife Hester remained in Berekley County, West Virginia.
In a letter to George McEndree on December 7, 1887, Ryan discusses the battles of their company and regiment, also sending along a copy of their old company’s muster roll, noting that the previous holder had been wounded leaving a large “splotch” of blood on McEndree’s name. Referring to the war, he expresses the belief that “we were not whipped but ‘wore ourselves out whipping the other side.’”
The Smileys owned a farm in Augusta County, Virginia. Most of the letters in this postwar collection are between Letitia Smiley and her sister Mary.
Alexander H.H. Stuart, a prominent lawyer and politician of Augusta County, Virginia, had favored the Union, but went with his state in the Civil War. In this postwar letter (1873), Stuart asks cousin Ellen for information, explaining that he intends to write a history of their family. He outlines some facts about the first Stuart to come to America.
In these two letters (1868, 1871) to their uncle, James H. and Kate Trotter discuss family matters, including the funeral of an uncle and an illness in the family.
Joseph A. Waddell lived in Staunton in Augusta County, Virginia. In his diary (1865), Waddell offers a vivid portrayal of postwar life in Staunton. His diary includes commentary on early restoration efforts for Virginia, interactions between former Confederates and Unionists, and the status of race relations. The diary also includes entries for the prewar (1855-1861) and war years (1861-1865).