William H. Davis papers, 1862-1865

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322



Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/8z6hw

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Davis, William H., b. 1841.
Title: William H. Davis papers, 1862-1865
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 301
Extent: 1 microfilm reel (MF)
Abstract:Microfilm copy of the correspondence and diaries of Confederate soldier William H. Davis, resident of Haywood County, Tennessee and member of Company C, 9th Tennessee Infantry Regiment.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Loaned for microfilming, 1956.


[after identification of item(s)], William H. Davis papers, Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Emory University.


Processed by RRH, April 1957

Collection Description

Biographical Note

William H. Davis was born December 7, 1841 in Haywood County, Tennessee, the son of Mr. Benjamin and Mrs. Elisabeth Davis. Davis served in Company C of the 9th Tennessee Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. He was involved in the fighting around Chattanooga, Tennessee, and in the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, where Davis was captured (he had apparently been a prisoner at least once before). He remained a prisoner from November 1863 until at least February 1865, part of that time at Rock Island Prison in Illinois. William H. Davis survived the war, married, and raised a family.

James A. Wimpy and E. T. Wimpy were Davis' uncles; their father was the Rev. Jesse Wimpy, who came to Tennessee and Arkansas from Dahlonega, Georgia. Dr. E. T. Wimpy was born October 17, 1841 and James A. Wimpy was born August 26, 1844.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of a microfilm copy of papers of William H. Davis from 1862-1865 incuding ten letters and two diaries dated between February 10, 1862 and February 7, 1865. Letters are written by Willliam H. Davis to his sister and mother from camps and prisons in Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee. There are two letters from James A. Wimpy and E.T. Wimpy (relatives). The diary gives a list of names of soldiers (patients and nurses) who were in the Camp Douglas, Illinois Hospital, Ward 11 (1863), and information on the battles in which Davis participated, particularly the battles of Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type and then in chronological order.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
MF1 1 1862, February 10: W. H. Davis to Sister, Hickman County, Columbus, Kentucky. Written from an army camp “200 feet above the level of the Mississippi River." This letter is in three parts: two to Sister, Miss Pina Davis., and a note to his Mother.
MF1 2 1862, March 22: W. H. Davis to Mother, Corinth, Mississippi. Beginning on the second page of this letter he states, "I will have to finish with my left hand." From this point on, the writing has to be read by turning the page upside down and reading with a mirror.
MF1 3 1862, April 13: W. H. Davis to Mother, Corinth, Mississippi. He gives some interesting "side sketches" of a battle fought there. Addressed to: Mr. John I. Davis, Jessamine, Tennessee.
MF1 4 1862, June 23: W. H. Davis to Mother, Tupolo & Corinth, Mississippi. Addressed to: Miss Pina Davis.
MF1 5 1863, August 2: W. H. Davis to Sister, Chattanooga, Tennessee. In this letter he refers to the death of "brother Joseph" (Josiah) about whom he also writes a brief obituary in the back of his first diary.
MF1 6 1863, September 16: W. H. Davis to Mother, Lafayette, Georgia. He tells his mother of having received baptism at the hands of Rev. Wm. T. Bennett, and his convictions concerning his spiritual life.
MF1 7 1863, October 11: W. H. Davis to (no addressee), Chattanooga, Tennessee. This letter contains a manuscript map showing the positions of troops around Chattanooga and some details of the battle.
MF1 8 1864, September 9: James A. Wimpy to Sister Mollie, near Jacksonport.
MF1 9 1865, February 7: W. H. Davis to Miss Pina Davis, Rock Island Prison, Illinois, Barrack 59. He writes of hopes of being exchanged.
MF1 10 186?, May 17: E. T. Wimpy to Brother, Corinth, Mississippi. He states he is one of Dr. Sonabel’s Staff of the 19th Regiment. Arkansas Volunteers and his main duty is filling prescriptions.
MF1 11 April 20, 1863-September 20, 1863 (end of day by day account); a number of miscellaneous notes appear inside the back and front covers. Near the back of the diary appears the names, Company, Regiment, date admitted, date discharged, and the disease of each man in Ward 11 of Camp Douglas, Illinois; also included are the names of the nurses. Following that is a list of the men who died in Ward #2 from January 27, 1863 to March 10, 1863.
MF1 12 October 20, 1863-February 6, 1864. Apparently the lapse of one month between these two diaries is due to the loss of some of the pages. Detailed accounts of the fighting around Chattanooga, Tennessee and the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge are related early in the diary. He was captured "November 27th at 6:00 P. M.," 1863. He gives detailed accounts of his travels as a prisoner and conditions encountered, especially at Rock Island Prison, Illinois. A note entered in the diary, dated January 25, 1865 (also his last letter to Miss Pina Davis) indicates he is still a prisoner there on February 17, 1865.