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Guide to the Thomas Kemp Cartmell Diary

MSN/CW 8018


Collection Summary

Title: Thomas Kemp Cartmell diary
Dates: 1864-1872(bulk 1864-1866)
Collection No.: MSN/CW 8018
Creator: Cartmell, Thomas Kemp, 1838-1920
Extent: 1 volume and 1 folder; 1.5 linear inches
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: A personal diary maintained by Confederate veteran Thomas Kemp Cartmell, mostly during the late war years and Reconstruction, 1864-1866. The entries were written at the Cartmell family estate, "Retirement," in Frederick County, Virginia.

Selected Search Terms

Cartmell, Thomas K. (Thomas Kent), 1838-1920
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877) -- Virginia
Frederick County (Va.) -- History -- Sources
Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.) -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives
Reconstruction (U.S. History, 1865-1877 -- Personal narratives

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection

Preferred Citation: Thomas Kemp Cartmell Diary, MSN/CW 8018-1-B, Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Cartmell diary was purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame in October 2010 from Historical Collectible Auctions of Burlington NC, with funding provided by Robert and Beverly O'Grady. Arranged and described 2011, by George Rugg. Conserved 2011 (Conservation ID 5758-5517). Finding aid 2017, by George Rugg.

Biographical Note

Thomas Kemp Cartmell (1838-1920) was the seventh child of Mordecai and Eliza Campbell Cartmell of Frederick County, Virginia. He was raised on his father's 600-acre estate near Chambersville, called Retirement. Prior to the Civil War Cartmell served as Assistant U.S. Marshall for the Southwest District of Texas. On returning home in 1861 he enlisted in the 122nd Virginia Militia, and saw detached service as a clerk in the office of the Provost Marshall at Winchester. In March 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate army, and served in the 7th Virginia Cavalry, the 17th Virginia Cavalry Battalion, and the 11th Virginia Cavalry. He was absent sick for more than a year in 1863-64, and was thereafter commissioned a captain and detailed to the Secret Service, directing the Bureau of Information in the Valley District. Following the war Cartmell married Annie Glass Baker (22 November 1866), and served as Clerk of the Court of Frederick County. Late in life he published a history of Frederick County, Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants (1909).

Scope and Content Note

The diary is a single volume, 32 cm. high, with 252 pages of manuscript entries in Thomas Cartmell's hand. Kept at Retirement, it includes entries running from November 1864 to October 1866, with several earlier and later memoranda. An initial section (14 November 1864 to 10 February 1865) contains diary entries that, by subsequent standards, are short and sporadic. A second section (2 April to 9 July 1865) contains prose meditations on war, home, and youth. The third and most important section contains regular and often extended entries running from 1 March 1865 to 11 October 1866. These contain much on the Cartmells' efforts to keep Retirement financially viable—it was sold by Mordecai Cartmell in 1868—as well as a good deal of domestic and social content, including the author's courtship of Annie Baker. There is also commentary of a political nature, especially as the narrative proceeds and Cartmell makes his antipathy to "Radical" elements plain. Notable, too, are several long entries from early June 1866, describing the reburial of a "patriot cousin" in the family graveyard, and a ceremonial procession in Winchester honoring the Confederate dead.

Arrangement Note

The collection consists of one bound volume and one folder.

Related Material

Papers of Thomas Kent Cartmell (Thomas K. Cartmell Papers, 164 WFCHS) are held in the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Room at the Handley Regional Library, Winchester VA.

Container List

  • Thomas Kemp Cartmell diary, 1864-1872 (bulk 1864-1866). Item 1 (MSN/CW 8018-1-B).
    1 volume, 32 cm., 127 leaves, with 252 pages of manuscript entries.
    • Manuscript fragment enclosed in the Cartmell diary, n.d. Folder 2 (MSN/CW 8018-2).
      1 sheet.