Letters, chiefly 1862-1865, written by Nathaniel Venable Watkins to his wife Nancy Daniel Watkins. During the Civil War, Watkins served with Co. H, 4th Virginia Heavy Artillery, which became part of the 34th Virginia Infantry Regiment. Watkins appeared to have saw little combat, spending much of his time in defensive positions guarding artillery batteries. His unit was stationed at Gloucester Point (during the Peninsular Campaign), near Richmond (Chaffin's Bluff) and near Petersburg. His letters concern camp life, religion among the soldiers, his work as a clerk for courts-martial; and he gave directions to his wife concerning the management of their farm in Granville, N. C.
The collection also includes correspondence of other members of the Watkins family of Prince Edward County, Va. and of the Daniel family of Granville County, N. C. Some letters concern and are written by Richard H. Watkins who served in the Prince Edward Dragoons, 3rd Virginia Cavalry and who was a farmer in Prince Edward County, Va during Reconstruction.
The collection includes letters concerning slavery before and during the Civil War as well as letters written from former slaves.
Charles Lewis Read is the father of Jane Eliza Read who married James B. Daniel. Their daughter, Nancy Venable Daniel, married Nathaniel Venable Watkins. Betsey Anne Ballentine was the sister of Nathaniel Venable Watkins.
Addition 2008.308 contains material for the Read, Daniel, Ballentine and Watkins families. The donor organized the papers and this order has been maintained.
The materials in this collection were donated to Special Collections in batches in 1942 and 1950 by various Watkins family members and friends of the Watkins family.
Mss. Acc. 2008.306 was donated by W.B.C. Watkins of Laurel, Mississippi via Richard L. Morton.