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Madison T. Lawson Letter

Identifier: Ms-2017-057

Scope and Contents

The collection contains a letter from Madison T. Lawson to his family, written in Lee County, Virginia, on March 28, 1864. Lawson writes of his current location and activities of his regiment, including a recent incursion into Kentucky to capture a mule train. He talks about the difficulties of the terrain, the loss of ground to the Union army, and the scarcity of water in parts of Virginia and Tennessee. He closes with an update on some mutual family and friends serving in the war and with a request for news from home.

The letter is written to "Dear Brother & Sister" and is addressed to E. Payne and family. Records suggest Lawson had five brothers, but no sisters, so the precise relationship between Lawson and his correspondants is unclear. His father was a minister, though, and is it possible he was using this in a religious context.


  • 1864


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from Madison T. Lawson Letter must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Biographical Note

Madison Thompson Lawson was born in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, in 1827. He was the oldest of six sons born to William (a minister) and Anna L. Thompson Lawson. In 1857, Lawson married Ruth Turner (1839-1925). The couple had three children: Martha Ann (Mayberry) (1860-1958), Claiborne Wilson (1861-1954), and Turner Madison (1877-1965).

Lawson enslisted with Company G, 21st Regiment, Virginia Cavalry and, by his letter, suggests he held the rank of sergeant and was perhaps promoted as high as major. However, records of the regiment are lacking in information on him other than to note his company and his discharge after being elected surveyor of Patrick County.

Lawson died in November 1893 and is buried in the Lawson Family Cemetery in Meadows of Dan.


0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



The collection contains a letter from Madison T. Lawson to his family, written in Lee County, Virginia, on March 28, 1864.

Acquisition Information

The Madison T. Lawson Letter was purchased by Special Collections in March 2016.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Madison T. Lawson Letter was completed in October 2017.

Madison T. Lawson Letter, 1864
Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
2017 (CC0 1.0)
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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