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The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.

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Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-5350
fax (757) 683-5954


The Papers of Harold S. Wilson



Dr. Harold S. Wilson received his doctorate at Emory University in 1966 and is currently a professor of History at Old Dominion University.  He has written several publications including an article about Matthew Fontaine Maury, a relative of William L. Fontaine. Other publications consist of books, editorials and book and manuscript reviews on topics such as Civil War, southern culture and the Progressive Era.

Scope and Contents

This collection includes documents that relate to personal experiences and tributes of Confederate soldiers in Virginia Companies.  Topics include primary accounts of Virginia battles, daily soldier life, military morale, and southern ideologies. Highlights of this collection are: letters to Preston Brooks in 1856; correspondence of Col. Jos T. Cosby between 1861 and 1862; an 1862 obituary of Col. Joseph Cabell; correspondence of solider Wm H. Farrabee dated 1863; papers concerning soldier William L Fontaine and his family estate; and an eulogy of Col. James C. Reed. The collection dates range from 1813 to 1978.


Gift of Harold S. Wilson, 1977.


Open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.


One-half Hollinger Document Box

Collection Number

RG 17-5B2

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], Box [number], Folder [number and title], The Personal Papers of Harold S. Wilson, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.

Container Listing

Folder 1: Congressional, 1856-1863

Two letters written to South Carolina Senator Preston Brooks who wounded Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner in May 1856 over derogatory comments made by Sumner about the South and Brook’s uncle. Within the same month, two men wrote to Preston Brooks commending his actions. One was W.F. Flobines of Maybington, South Carolina and the other by John Swanson of Georgia both encouraging the behavior and wished more people would have proactively dealt with abolitionists in the same manner.

Copy of Congressional law by both houses of the United States of America noting the veteran rights of the Army dated March 3, 1863 copied by C. P. Brown.

Folder 2: Four Confederate Soldiers correspondence and tributes, 1861-1935

Joseph R. Cabell, 23 years of age served in a Virginia Regiment, died after being wounded in battle near Drury’s Bluff. His body was brought to Danville a few days before publication; however, publication title and date of the obituary is unknown. It acknowledged his service started in 1861 and his notable combat experience in Gettysburg in 1863.

Jos T. Cosby was a soldier of the 23rd Regiment of Virginia and wrote comprehensively to his family from January 10, 1861 to December 31, 1862 with a letter from the company to the father in November 17, 1862 regarding his discharge the previous year. The original organization of the letters were typed not in any particular order but arranged systematically with numbers in the upper right corner. This was changed to chronological with the first letter being written by a family member to his mother concerning the ideology behind the start of the Civil War. He wrote to his father Robert Sr. and brother Robert Jr. about marches and asked for money and supplies because the army was unable to provide. Wrote his sister Mary extensively about his experiences, battles engaged, and the beautiful scenery (which helps the researcher in locating his company). His letters mentions of family friend William Pendleton, March of Buffalo Gap in June 1861, retreat of the March of Laurel August 1861, Battle of Mannass August 1861, passing by prisoner Senator Mason Pendleton in December 1861, general soldier morale, camp rules, southern ideologies, an account of Confederate plans of Jackson stolen by the enemy in 1862 and inquires about his personal farm.

Wm H. Farrabee of 5th Regiment of Stafford County writes to friend Charley who had left the company some time ago. Dated March 1, 1863, it describes his company’s daily life and war morale and mentions being at Camp Franklin.

James C. Reed eulogy given by Rev. W. Albert D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) on January 8, 1935 titled “He Kept the Faith: A Tribute of Appreciation.” It gives admiration for Dr. Reed on his relentless positivity even through the Depression Era and devotion to the church. He became a successful pastor following his father’s footsteps with Rev. Albert being one of his many followers. The eulogy also notes his devotion to the Confederate Army ranking as Sergeant of the Bedford Artillery by time of his discharge and receiving a soldier’s reward, featuring his portrait.

Folder 3: William L. Fontaine and Brown Correspondence, 1813-1876

Notice of debt paid to Walter L. Fontaine in 1813 and a letter written to a Mr. Bentley from R.F Scruggs concerning the Fontaine estate in 1876. Harold S. Wilson did a paper on the Fontaine Maury family. Walter L. Fontaine was a soldier in the Confederate Army.

A promise to pay a loan in the amount of $500 to a John J. Brown from February 14, 1865 to December 15, 1867. Mentioned in the notice is the town of Buckingham and includes an envelope copy addressed Mr. S.S. Brown of Buckingham County, Virginia. The notice is signed by R.B Shan and D.S. Parrack D.C.

To Mr. B.M. Brown from J.R Phillips dated March 31, 1875 from Ingleside. It mentions a J.J. Clairbourn and Jenny Meadran.

Folder 4: Miscellaneous, 1978

Various contents found include notes on gathering the collection by sources, including phone numbers, addresses, significant values of the collection and where originals may be found. January 31, 1978 is noted as possible collection date for the Brown papers. People mentioned in the notes as possible contributors are Dr. Hamilton, Sandy Harrall, Ms. Turnstall, Dr. Wilson, and Zelda Zimmerman.

Revised 9/25/09