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Thomas Kemp Cartmell Diary

Identifier: MSN/CW 8018

Scope and Contents

The diary consists of entries written in Kemp's hand and kept at Retirement, the Cartmell family estate. The entries run 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.


  • Creation: 1864-1872
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1864-1866


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.

Biographical / Historical

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).


1.5 linear inches

Language of Materials



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.


The collection consists of one bound volume and one folder.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

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.

Related Materials

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

Physical Description

1 volume, 32 cm. high, with 252 pages of manuscript entries.

Processing Information

Conserved 2011 (Conservation ID 5758-5517)

Thomas Kemp Cartmell Diary
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