Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CW 150 Legacy Project: Virginia Memory Scanning Project

It seems that victories, albeit tiny in comparison to the grand spectacle of the war itself, continue to surface during the sesquicentennial years. Documents, once privately-held, are continuously

There was a recent post on the Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission's Facebook page about an ongoing project conducted by the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. The article, appearing on progress-index, talks about two members of the Legacy Project scanning documents in Dinwiddie found by a woman who decided to save them from a soon to be demolished house in Sussex County. As with all documents for the project, these rare pieces of history will be made available for download on the Legacy website in due time.

According to the CW 150 Legacy Project Website, its mission is to:

Document Digitization and Access is a multi-year initiative to locate, digitize and provide world-wide access to the private documentary heritage of the American Civil War era located throughout Virginia. Utilizing Local Sesquicentennial Committees established by the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission and through a partnership with the Library of Virginia and a network of statewide connections, the Civil War 150 Legacy Project will provide individuals an opportunity to have their historic letters, diaries and other collections scanned to preserve their valuable intellectual content.

I figured it might be interesting to see if anything involving the Civil War navies. To be honest, I did not expect anything to come up. Just do a simple Google search between civil war army vs. civil war navy. You can see why there was little hope that any documents have been scanned relating to the "webbed feet" of the war. I was quite surprised with what I found.

When you go to the main website index for the available online documents on the CW 150 Legacy Project, I simply typed in "Navy." Only one hit came back, but it proved to be quite interesting.

Diary of Camilla Frances Loyall
Norfolk, Virginia
Amongst several entries detailing the capture of Norfolk and the Hampton Roads area during the War, Camilla has several references to not only the CSS Virginia, but her intrepid cousin David Glasgow Farragut as well. This is highly interesting, as her diary entry begins in May 1862, just days after Farragut's successful assault on New Orleans, Louisiana. The first entry (1 May 1862) has several references to her cousin at New Orleans:
"Our papers are today taken up with the fall of New Orleans, and the mysterious manner in which it was taken. Lizzie Mitchell is very unhappy about her husband who is on board the Louisiana. She has not heard from him since the taking of New Orleans."
The second entry (2 May 1862) details more information on her curious viewpoint towards the war, specifically as the cousin of a Union naval officer who is herself sympathetic to Dixie:
"Today called on Lissie Mitchell (a cousin). Found her in wretched spirits as she had just received a telegram from Captain Whittle stating that her husband had not been heard from as all communications were cut off from the Louisiana. She says that Capt. Farragut is much blamed for this. I cannot possibly believe that Captain Farragut would capture a ship with the flag of truce flying. I hope some light will be thrown on the subject."

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