R. Henry Campbell Civil War letters. Rockbridge Rifles.
From the Campbell and Varner Family Papers (Manuscript #0282)
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 Campbell letter detail with flagBiographical note: 

Robert Henry Campbell of Lexington, VA; shoemaker; served with Rockbridge Rifles during Civil War (1861 only); discharged due to illness (tuberculosis); Clerk, Quartermaster and Treasurer at the Virginia Military Institute, 1864-1870; d. 1870, age 28, Lexington, VA. Charles Van Buren Varner, b. Lexington, VA. 1838; served with Rockbridge Rifles during Civil War; cabinetmaker; carpenter at VMI; d. 1907, Lexington.

Collection Description: 

A collection (1845-1928; bulk dated 1860-1865) of correspondence, photographs, and miscellaneous documents of R. Henry Campbell and members of the Varner family of Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia. Includes Civil War letters of soldiers R. Henry Campbell (1861 April -July) and Charles V. Varner (1864, 1865). The letters were written while they were serving with the Rockbridge Rifles (part of the 4th, 5th, and 27th Virginia Infantry regiments at various dates during the war). Significant topics in the Campbell letters include the unit's stay at Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg, and the 1st Battle of Manassas (1st Bull Run). Additional correspondence of R. Henry Campbell (1864-1865), written after he accepted a position in the Treasurer's-Quartermaster's office at VMI, include a note written on May 13 before the Battle of New Market; letter written on June 14 after Hunter's Raid from the cadet camp at Rope Ferry; and letters describing life at VMI's temporary headquarters at the Alms House in Richmond and life in wartime Richmond, including mention of the use of black troops. Other items in the collection are two notebooks (ca. 1861-62 and 1864), containing an early roster of Rockbridge rifles and list of killed and wounded; family photographs; broadside (July 1865) concerning occupation of Lexington by Union troops; miscellaneous family documents, including "Rules for the Lexington Classical School," 1845. The families were related through the marriage of R. Henry's sister, Augusta, to Charles V. Varner.

Full Text Letters
Rockbridge Rifles

  • 1861 mid-April.   Treated kindly by civilians; on march toward Harrisonburg.
  • 1861 April 20.   Describes stay in Harrisonburg; on to Winchester.
  • 1861 May 4.   In camp at Harper's Ferry. Camp life-- Jackson forbids liquor; singing; daily schedule.
  • 1861 May 19.   At Harper's Ferry; expected attack did not occur.
  • 1861 May 21.    Regiment at Martinsburg; Union sentiment among townspeople.
  • 1861 May 29.    Regiment at Martinsburg; secessionist sentiment increasing in town.
  • 1861 June 3.    At Harper's Ferry; burned bridge across Opequon; no wages.
  • 1861 July 21.   Battle of 1st Manassas (Bull Run)
  • Obituary, 1870

View Discharge document, 1861 Dec 15, issued by Capt. James K. Edmondson.