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Theresa Milburn Diary

Identifier: MSN/CW 8021

Scope and Contents

The Milburn diary survives in a group of 88 disbound leaves, 78 of which (155 pages) contain entries running from 10 August 1863 (when the diary was begun) to 13 May 1865. Twenty pages of the diary, with entries from August to October 1863, are lacking—though their text is preserved in the form of an old typed transcription. The manuscript diary text runs to more than 25,000 words. Entries were typically made on Sundays, recounting events of the previous week. Content is particularly dense for the fall, winter, and spring of 1863-1864. There are relatively few entries for 1865. A great deal of the content relates to the war. Milburn remained at Gold Dust throughout the period covered by the diary, and lived with both the rumors and the realities of Union troops passing through the area, Her entry for 18 March 1864 describes members of a regiment of U. S. Colored Troops on the plantation, encountering the Milburn slaves. Confederate officers were frequent guests at the plantation, and enlisted men camped there. The entries also contain news of the doings of her brothers and other friends and relatives in the army, and news and rumors of both the war in Louisiana and the broader war. While Milburn laments the war's disruptions and tragedies she is inflagging in her sympathy for the Southern cause. She speaks with incomprehension of tales of unrest among Louisiana's slave population, and of the Northern use of black troops. Following the leaves dedicated to the diary are 11 leaves (17 pages) of poetry and other material in Theresa Milburn's hand, dating to as late as 1878. Accompanying the manuscript is a bracelet owned by Theresa Milburn's sister Sophie; it is woven from the hair of Curry Milburn and contains a tintype portrait of him in the clasp.


  • Creation: 1863-1878
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1863-1865


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.


2 linear inches.

Language of Materials



A manuscript diary kept during the Civil War by Theresa Milburn, a young woman living on a plantation in Avoyelles Parish in central Louisiana.


The diary and attendant leaves are held in a single folder; the bracelet in a second folder.

Theresa Milburn Diary MSN/CW 8021
George Rugg
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556