Civil War memorabilia sought

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, June 14, 2012

The scene at the North Suffolk Library will be something akin to an episode of Antiques Roadshow when staff from the Library of Virginia visit on July 14 to electronically scan Civil War-era documents.

Kirk Morrison, public service manager at Suffolk’s Morgan Memorial Library, said the state capital’s library is on a mission to collect the materials as part of Virginia Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Commission activities. Last year was the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

Kirk Morgan of Morgan Memorial Library stands beside the Confederate monument at Cedar Hill Cemetery. He is encouraging citizens to bring their Civil War memorabilia to North Suffolk Library to be digitized and preserved for generations to come.

“What they’re doing is getting out across the commonwealth, hoping to find folks, particularly here, who have kept materials related to the Civil War,” Morrison said.


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Appointments with LVA staff at the North Suffolk Library can be booked starting on June 18, and the event on July 14, where walk-ins will also be welcome, runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The LVA is seeking letters, diaries, images, maps and other documents that would add to the canon of archived Civil War memorabilia.

The North Suffolk Library is hosting the event as part of the Adult Summer Reading Program, “Between the Covers.”

Materials will be scanned electronically and returned, so donors will not have to part with their precious artifacts.

“Folks can continue to hold them in their families, but they will be recorded for future generations,” Morrison said.

All manner of Civil War items are of interest, he said, including from both sides of the conflict, from any state, from events leading up to the Civil War and from the Reconstruction period.

“If folks have materials in their possession of events leading up to Virginia’s secession, that would be helpful,” he said. “So would items from the Civil War Reconstruction period.”

The potential exists for items to surface related to the occupation of Suffolk by Union troops, he said.

The Suffolk area is home to significant Civil War sites, including Fort Connecticut and Deserted House Battlefield.

There is also the home of Judith Kilby Smith, the only civilian casualty of the siege of Suffolk, and Riddick’s Folly, the headquarters of Union Gen. John J. Peck during the occupation.

But Morrison said the LVA is interested in any kind of Civil War memorabilia. “Memorabilia from any state and either side — any perspective — is appreciated,” he said.

For more information, contact the North Suffolk Library on 514-7150. North Suffolk Library is located at 2000 Bennett’s Creek Park Road.