Charles L. C. Minor Cash Book and Edward P. Harmon Civil War Diary Collection, 1860-1864 (Ms2008-081)
- 1860 - 1864
Collection is open to research.
Permission to publish material from the Charles L. C. Minor Cash Book and Edward P. Harmon Civil War Diary Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
Charles Landon Carter Minor, son of Lucius Horatio and Cartherine Berkley Minor, was born on December 3, 1835 at Edgewood (Hanover County), Virginia. Minor received his master of arts from the University of Virginia in 1858 and taught school at the Virginia Female Institute (Staunton) and in Albemarle County. He married Fanny Annsley Cazenove in 1860. The couple settled in the small town of Negro Foot, just north of Richmond, Virginia, and had two daughters.
In 1861, Minor joined the Confederate Army, enlisting as a private in the 1st Rockbridge Artillery but soon transferred to Company K, 2nd Virginia Cavalry, with which he participated in the Battle of First Manassas and Jackson's Valley Campaign. By February 1863, Minor was an ordnance officer at Dublin Depot, Virginia, and he served at General Albert G. Jenkins' aide-de-camp at the nearby Battle of Cloyd's Mountain (May 9, 1864). Promoted to captain on August 1, 1864, Minor was appointed chief ordnance officer of the Confederate Army's Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, reporting to Major General Samuel Jones. At war's end, Minor was serving as executive officer at the Richmond Arsenal.
In 1867, Minor became president of the Maryland Agricultural College (now University of Maryland). He resigned the following year, however, and operated a private school in Lynchburg, Virginia, before becoming professor of Latin and director of the preparatory school at the University of the South (Sewanee, Tennessee). He served in that position until named the first president of the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) in 1872. In 1874, he received a law degree from William & Mary College.
Removed from office during an 1879 reorganization of the college, Minor served as principal of Shenandoah Valley Academy (Winchester, Virginia) and St. Paul's School (Baltimore, Maryland) before becoming vice principal of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. When his health began to fail, Minor privately tutored students in his Baltimore home. A Confederate apologist, Minor during this time also contributed a number of articles to Baltimore and Richmond newspapers on historical and political subjects. In 1901, he published a 66-page booklet titled The Real Lincoln. During the last year of his life, he completed a second, expanded edition of the work, which was published posthumously. Charles L. C. Minor died in Albemarle County, Virginia on July 13, 1903.
Edward P. Harmon was born in Maine around 1844. A resident of New Gloucester, he joined the Union Army, enlisting as a private in Company E of the 5th Maine Infantry in 1861. He is listed as a musician within a roster of units serving at the Battle of Gettysburg. In 1865, Harmon married Emma Frances Tobey (1841-1929) in Gardiner, Maine, where the couple would continue to live, with Edward Harmon employed as a machinist. In 1883, Harmon filed for a veteran's invalid pension. He died in 1888. Census records indicate that the Harmons had no children who survived to adulthood.
The 5th Maine Infantry was organized in Portland, Maine and mustered into Federal service on June 24, 1861. Less than a month later, the regiment was participating in the First Battle of Bull Run. The 5th remained in the Washington D.C. area through March 1862, maintaining defenses. Ordered to the Virginia Peninsula on April 22, the regiment participated in the siege of Yorktown and the Seven Days Battles, then remained at Harrison's Landing before participating the retreat and returning to northern Virginia in August. Later that fall, it participated in the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg before settling into winter quarters. In 1863, the regiment participated in the Chancellorsville Campaign and the Battle of Gettysburg. 1864 found the 5th Maine again in eastern Virginia, as it participated in several battles, including the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, North Anna and Cold Harbor. The regiment was mustered out at the end of its three-year term of service on July 27, 1864.
Language of Materials
The Charles L. C. Minor Cash Book and Edward P. Harmon Civil War Diary Collection was purchased by Special Collections in June 2008.
General Physical Description note
1 container; 0.2 cu. ft.
Civil War-era cash book of Captain Charles L. C. Minor, Confederate Army ordnance officer and first president of Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College (1872-1879). Also contains diary entries of Union Army Private Edward P. Harmon, 5th Maine Infantry, for May-June 1864. Accompanied by research materials on the two soldiers (including maps, muster rolls, and pension notes) and a complete photocopy of the cash book/diary.
This collection consists of a cash book maintained by Confederate Captain Charles L. C. Minor from 1860 to 1864. Also contained within the cash book's pages are diary entries of Union Army Private Edward P. Harmon (5th Maine Infantry) during May and June, 1864. Research materials on the two soldiers (including photocopies of maps, muster rolls, census records, and an image of Harmon) and a complete photocopy of the piece are also included.
The small volume of 68 pages, bearing on its spine the embossment "cash book," was retained for its intended use by Captain Minor, its original owner, to carefully record personal expenditures and savings. Minor's records commence with November 6, 1860 and end on May 4, 1864. In recording these financial transactions, Minor provides details regarding his daily whereabouts and activities. He records meal and travel purchases, as well as amounts paid to individual servants, expenses for personal and household items, services, and military gear. Also recorded within the book are Minor's bank transactions for 1861-1862, a list of silver wedding gifts received by Fanny Cazenove Minor, and a list of stocks and bonds held by Minor.
The cash book was among materials seized by Federal troops in the act of destroying the rail line and depot at Hewletts Station, Virginia on May 25, 1864, and came into the possession of Private Harmon, who used it as a diary. (As the first diary entry predates the volume's capture by three weeks, we may surmise that the early entries were made retrospectively or that they were copied from another book.) Harmon's first entry, for May 2, finds his regiment having just crossed the Hazel River and preparing to cross the Rapidan. Soon, Harmon describes fearful, endless shelling by "cast iron hummingbirds" during the Battle of the Wilderness. Harmon briefly mentions African American troops, Confederate prisoners of war, and camp rumors. As the regiment marches toward Spotsylvania Court House, Harmon mentions a fire in which many wounded soldiers were killed. He describes heavy fighting and losses at Spotsylvania and at one point questions the actions of the Brigade commander. As his regiment endures battles at North Anna and Cold Harbor, Harmon describes the morale of his comrades ("very much broken up they are tired heartsick & discouraged") and himself ("sick, tired & worn out too night this is our 9th day of slaughter"). Many of the entries center on his brigade's movements and preparations for battles that often fail to materialize. Harmon's diary entries end with June 3, 1864. Following the June 3 entry is a gap, indicating the removal of several pages, and a page of wartime accounts held by Harmon and I. F. Goodwin.
The volume also contains two botanical samples, one of which appears to be a collection of four-leaved clovers, tipped into the first two pages.
The processing, arrangement and description of the Charles L. C. Minor Cash Book and Edward P. Harmon Civil War Diary Collection commenced and was completed in October 2008.
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
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