Civil War correspondence sheds light on life of Wharton slaves

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tags: slavery, Civil War



A cache of Civil War letters from Radford that may be the largest yet found documents the lives of the Wharton family and gives rare details of an enslaved couple serving on the homefront and the battlefield.

Sue Bell, great-great granddaughter of Confederate Gen. Gabriel and Nannie Wharton, and Civil War historian William C. “Jack” Davis have worked together for two years to transcribe and annotate more than 500 letters written by the Whartons dating from their marriage in 1863 to the end of the war in 1865.

Co-authors on the project, Bell and Davis plan to publish a book of the correspondence, perhaps as early as 2019. Davis is a retired Virginia Tech history professor and former director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies.




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