J. W. Ryland Diary
Scope and Content
The J. W. Ryland Diary consists of a single Civil War diary kept by J. W. Ryland between September 1863-1865. In his diary, Ryland records activities from September 1863 – January 1866. His entries include the topics of the creation of the Confederate States of America, rail cars, and battles such as the Siege of Charleston, SC, the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, the surrender at Appomattox Court House, and the weary Confederate trek home following April 9, 1865. Other entries explain how he has taken it upon his own shoulders to enhance the spiritual life of his fellow soldiers. Although the Confederate States of America surrendered on April 9, 1865, Ryland continued to write about his support for them. In a diary entry dated 1865, Ryland says “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) in the presence of Almighty God that I will henceforth faithfully support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
There are newspaper clippings attached to the inside of the front and back covers. These clippings include a woman writing to her sisters about not being too eager over the men coming back from war, a report of a French chemist’s discovery, a poem entitled “The Young Widow” and a printing of “General Orders No. 30 217.”
- 1863 - 1865
Language of Materials
The materials in this collection are in English.
The collection is open for research.
Permission to publish material from the J. W. Ryland Diary must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
John William Ryland was born on October 19, 1836 in King and Queen County, VA. He was the first of three children born to Joseph and Priscilla Bagby Ryland. He attended Richmond College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1858. Robert Ryland, John’s uncle, served as the school’s first president from 1840-1866. John worked as a farmer and colporteur until he was 24 and talk of war came to King and Queen County.
On May 29, 1861, he joined the Army of the Confederate States of America and was placed in Company K, 34th Virginia Infantry. Ryland was promoted from Corporeal to Sergeant on July 18, 1861, and he was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines in May 1862. He recovered at the Richmond College Hospital and returned to his regiment in July 1862. In 1865, Sergeant Ryland follows General Robert E. Lee toward Sailor’s Creek in Amelia County, and on to Appomattox for the South’s final effort.
Following the Civil War, John became a minister of Gospel. He served at the Baptist Church in Bruington, VA, and Hermitage Baptist Church in Church View, VA for 32 years. He married Lucy Fleet (Roane) Bagby on July 24, 1866 and later they had two sons. He passed away on March 26, 1905.
0.2 Cubic Feet (1 box)
The J. W. Ryland Diary consists of a single Civil War diary kept by J. W. Ryland between September 1863-1865. In his diary, Ryland records activities from September 1863 – January 1866. His entries include the topics of the creation of the Confederate States of America, rail cars, and battles such as the Siege of Charleston, SC, the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, the surrender at Appomattox Court House, and the weary Confederate trek home following April 9, 1865.
The J. W. Ryland Diary was donated to Special Collections in 2018.
Rights Statements for Archival Description
The guide to the J. W. Ryland Diary by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 ( a href="https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/">https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/
The processing, arrangement, and description of the J. W. Ryland Diary was completed in February 2019.
- J. W. Ryland Diary, 1863-1865
- AnnRea Fowler, Student Assistant and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
- 2019 (CC0 1.0)
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
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