Jack Foster Letter
Scope and Contents
This collection contains an 1883 letter written by Jack Foster, a formerly enslaved person who served as a body servant in the 36th Virginia Infantry during the Civil War. Foster writes to former Confederate General John McCausland, one-time commander of the 36th. After inquiring about the general's wellbeing, Foster mentions his family, then begins to reminiscence about his time in the general's camp. Foster mentions being at Camp Narrows (Giles County, Virginia) and being present when McCausland took command following the death of General Jenkins at "Floyds Mountains" [i.e., the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain, May 9, 1864]. Foster then proceeds to recollect a discussion between Jenkins and McCausland regarding battle strategy and the Confederate units present. He also recalls baking bread in the camp.
- Foster, Jack (Person)
Language of Materials
The materials in the collection are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
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: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.
At the time of the Civil War, Jack Foster was enslaved by the Tompkins family of Virginia. Though Christopher Q. Tompkins, Foster's enslaver, served with the 22nd Virginia Infantry during the war, Foster found himself in the 36th Virginia, body servant to a young soldier in the regiment. By 1883, Foster was living in Richmond, Virginia. He may have been the same man as a driver named John Foster enumerated in the 1880 census living in Richmond, Virginia with wife Virginia and daughters Hattie, Lucy, Ada and Ida. By 1900, Virginia Foster was a widow in Richmond, living with children Ada, Ida, and Chris.
0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)
The collection includes a letter from Jack Foster, formerly enslaved person and body servant in the 36th Virginia Infantry, to Confederate General John McCausland, reminiscing about the Battle of Cloyd's Mountain and his time in camp service.
Source of Acquisition
The Jack Foster Letter was purchased by Special Collections in 2008.
Alternate Form Available
This letter has been digitized and is available online.
Rights Statement for Archival Description
The guide to the Jack Foster Letter by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).
The processing and description of the Jack Foster Letter commenced and was completed in April 2008.
- A Guide to the Jack Foster Letter, 1883
- John M. Jackson
- 2008 (CC0 1.0)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English
- 2020-10-15: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
- 2022-10: Updated description to person-first language when discussing enslaved people. adw
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
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