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Fenner Wilson Letter

Identifier: Ms-1988-082

Scope and Content

This collection consists of a single letter written by Fenner Wilson, a private in Company D, 45th North Carolina Infantry during the American Civil War. Writing to his brother B. G. (Basley Graves) Wilson from Danville, Virginia, on December 24, 1863, Wilson describes his health and the overall health of his company, noting that Hiram Newnom "has bin trying to die but he cant," that Henry Elet [Ellett] is recovering from smallpox, and Sam Michel [Mitchell] recently died of the same disease. He also mentions the recent desertion of James Proctor and his wish to "take Christmas" with his brother. Wilson then complains that, though there is plenty of brandy available in camp, he cannot afford to buy any because he did not get as much as he thought he should in a recent trade with his brother. He then writes at length of this transaction, the prospects of selling his corn at a fair price, and of his relationship with his brother.


  • 1863


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Fenner Wilson Jr., son of Thomas Sr. and Nancy Key Wilson, was born in North Carolina, on February 27, 1835. Wilson enlisted in Company D of the 45th North Carolina Infantry on May 8, 1862. He was wounded at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse on May 15, 1864, and was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina, on May 18, 1865. He married Adeline Simmons (1843-1928), and by 1870, the Wilsons were living in Madison (Rockingham County), North Carolina, with 10 children, with Fenner Wilson working as a farmer. He continues to be listed as a Rockingham County farmer through 1910. Thomas Fenner Wilson Jr. died March 5, 1916 and was buried in Sardis Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Madison, North Carolina.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)


Letter written by Fenner Wilson, a private in Company D, 45th North Carolina Infantry, during the American Civil War, to his brother, B. G. (Basley Graves) Wilson. Writing from Danville, Virginia, Wilson discusses sickness in his company and other camp matters.

Source of Acquisition

The Fenner Wilson Letter was purchased by Special Collections and University Archives in 1988.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Fenner Wilson Letter by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (


This letter had long been identified as the "B. G. Wilson Letter," but a closer inspection and further research in 2021 revealed it to have been written by Fenner Wilson.

Processing Information

The processing and description of the Fenner Wilson Letter commenced and was completed in April, 2021.

Fenner Wilson Letter, 1863
John M. Jackson
2021 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-08-25: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
  • 2021-03-31: LM Rozema added missing notes for an unprocessed collection, added FA title, added FA date from EAD, and added component with instances previously attached to collection level.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US