Augusta County:
William H. Dunlap to Elizabeth Rife, May 12, 1861

William H. Dunlap writes to his sister Elizabeth Rife to tell her that his company will march to Harpers Ferry on Tuesday and that he may not see her again. He also tells of other soldiers visits home and watch duty.

To Mrs Eliazbeth Reife

May the 12 1861
My Dear sister

I seat myself this morning to let you know that I am well and we were ordered yesterday evening to be in reddyness to march to Harpersferry on Tusday for the purpose to be in reddyness to take harpersferry we came here on fryday we hav ban injoying our selves verry well sence we hav ben here most all of the company is gon home to bid there friends good bye & sum of the company dont mind hit atall & there is not miny ever expects to see Staunton after Tusday & as for my fare I never expect to see you nor here of you any more & I hav ben on guard last too nights and I am so sleepey that I can't wright

So that is all I hav to say at this time

So I will wright next Sunday if I can & So that is all at present excuse bad wrighting and spelling So Good By for now and for ever

William. H. Dunlap

Augusta County:
A. D. Dunlop to His Mother, June 15, 1860

A. D. Dunlap tells his mother about the crops, his living expenses, and his daily activities. Dunlap plans to build a house and mentions his intended.

June 15 1860
Dire Mother

In hast I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you all know that we ar well an hoping these few lines may find you all the same news of interrest is scarce here at present. The weather is very hot at this time here we hav ben blesed with plenty of rane now for the last 8 weeks corn looks well an som a gane looks bad wheet thare wont be any worth [unclear: nomin] an oats is very short thare has ben sevrel storms here in the last 2 weeks an hall plenty an don a heap of damige thare was one man killed 15 miles from here another town of Clinton bi litngning his name was Ashby he was in a horse stable at the time Mother times is hard here an I expect will be harder before they get beter the fruit is scarce thare is plenty of peache in some plases an som few apels

   ..well.. Mother I must tell you that I am gowing to change my wa of living this foul if nothing hapins an I wold like to hare what you will say to it I hav got tired living this wa for it costs to much to liv a lon in this country wee ar paying two dollars an a half a pese a week an we hav to furnish our [unclear: own] bed an pay for our washin be sids I hav som notion to bild a house this summer I ant sertin whether I will or not we hav a bout twelve hundred dollars [unclear: standing] out here an still hoc as much up we both can do I is working an on wagons porty much all the time he is work at one now we earn a bout one hundred an twenty dollars per month but mother I've the averlastin chills we cant get rid or them they giv him an I thunder som times but dont last long

   well Mother I treded horsis this morning an got a fine mare worth 200:00 I will cut a dash I recon an there is to bed dans here to knigh I expect be there with my in Tended but I cant [illeg.] you all know that the helth or the country is very good at present except the chills an that we dont call sickness here Mothe I hav som money an you shal hav it well Dire Mot I will close for this time I hav wrot all the news that I hav an hav not wrote much nether yess thare is to be several barbacues round here th 4 of July an one on the 14 I wont know whether I shal be at any or not

   no more giv my best respects all an espocly uncle Jim I tell him I wont be lik him lon an old bachler all my life tell sister Nan to look out an Mag the same

no more at present but remain youre most direst son

A. D. Dunlop

write soon to me and dont for get me

Augusta County:
[unknown] to Margaret Dunlap, June 7, 1860

A letter to Mag from an unknown female author in Craigsville, Augusta County, Virginia, telling of a recent move to the country side, the doings of her family, and her luck with men.


June the 7 1860
Dear Mag

   I have seated my self once more for the purpose of writing you a few lines i recieved your letter and I was very glad indeed to hear from you & thot that you had entirely forgotten me but i find you have not. We have moved since i got your letter we are living in the pastures on our farm pap bought uncle [unclear: Peole Cales] farm It is a very pretty place to live we all like to live here very much & every thing looks nicly well now we have a good house containing five rooms a porch and a large kitchen. There is a great chance of fruit trees on the place, the frost killed a great chance of the fruit we think there will be as many apples as we can make use of some of the peaches escaped the frost there is a good many damsels and a few guineas. May you know i always talked so bitterly against the pastures but i dont think it is as bad as we made it out the people are all very nice along here just as much so as they are on the other side of the mountain we live in sight of Bethany Church we have been here just two month and i have heard seventeen sermons preached there has been two protracted meetings since we live here one lutheren one baptist meeting I most forgot to tell you that we are all well mary is still staying at uncle James [unclear: casts] she is larger than i am John is stilling at David Clemmers he has been there one year now mandy has been to see us since we moved her and John was here Three weeks ago [illeg.] aunt lisse has four children her youngest is more than three years old she calls it Faried Howard Mother calls her youngest Howard Wilson he is going on three years old, Mother is as fleshy as ever she is troubled a great deal with the Rhumatick pains, I have my health just tollerble well I have had a geat deal of work to do since we moved and i am most gave out. Cas and mag is going to school at the furnace. Cas is nearly as large as i am and will is nearly as large as pap, Mag I suppose you heard that [unclear: Drgenbrights] was gone to the [unclear: Mo] they started the middle of April fanny married henry Obough before they started I was at her weding there was no stranger there except myself, Mag I am glad to hear that you have your heath so well and have such a good place to live it but i expect you will get married and leave that good home you said you wer affraid you would direct my letter wrong but i expect i will direct yours wrong you say that you kick the young men sometimes you must not kick them to hard you say that you cant kick the right one I cant tell you now to do about that I have not got any baus now I left two or three over the mountain the one i loved best is married and i dont care one cent about the rest i have not got acquainted with any of the pasture boys yet but one he came home with me from preaching the other sunday he is a nicey nice little fellow and rich at that but i dont care for any of them.

direct your letters to Craigsville augusta Co Va

Augusta County:
Eliza H. Stanton to Margaret Dunlap, [January 1858?]

Eliza H. Stanton writes Mag to urge her to quickly come visit her in Stanton Virginia to look for a place to stay.

Staunton Va

Good morning Miss Mag

I have got some news for you this morning I have not heard from you some time, therefore I cannot tell what are your plans for the future, When you rote me last, you wish me to try to get you a place here, I will not say that I have got you a place But will Say come and try; you have a chance on condishions ; that is But I will not wright to you the condistions ; But will plainly tell you what they are when you come Mag if you want a home why you had better come soon as you get this dont tell any one but come right away when you come to the hospittle dont call for any one but me for i want to see you firt on perticular bisness


E Stanton

Dont you delay or you may be to late

Augusta County:
Frances Sheets to Daniell Rife, Elizabeth Rife, and Nancy Shurley, August 1, 1859

Daniell Rife, Elizabeth Rife, Nancy Sherley, and Frances Sheets write to their aunt and uncle, telling them of the health of the family, inquiring their health, and requesting them to write back.

August the 1: 1853
Dear aunt lizy and uncle

After a long Silence I seat myself to drop you a few lines as I am anctious to hear from you and uncle and nancy I should have written sooner but have bin waiting for a letter from home and have got none yet I had sore breasts for three months and then my little twin boy took sick and we did not think he would live after he got better then Magga took sick and she was pourly a long time but she is right piert now and saucy and I have another saucy little pig we call it [unclear: buiza] Mc Catherine my old man has gone up to [unclear: Bucks] gap to a quarterly meeting some 40 miles some of the Bretheren give him no rest till he went with them their was some eight of them in company went up to the metting the lord bless and strengthen them all in the laws of Christ.. dear aunt pray for us all. I want to see you all bad and talk with you all.. William never writes to me I would like to hear from them I have not heard a word from them since in may when papa was down and sarah was down I must now close it is getting late pleas answer this directly and let us know how you all are give my love to all and resume a full portion for your self

Frances Sheets

Augusta County:
C. M. Turner to "Miss Dunlap," September 20, 1858

C. M. Turner requests the highly recommended services of Miss Dunlap
and attempts to arrange the logistics of her travel.

Staunton Va

Sept. 20th 1858.
Miss Dunlap

You have been highly recommended to us by Miss Eliza Stanton, & we are very anxious to secure your services. We will give you a permanent situation if you are contented to remain with us. We have been giving a dollar a week. I will give you that if you will come. That is the price generally asked here. If you will come & have no way to come, tell my son what day you will be ready to come & we will send for you. Please come as soon as you can. I think you will be contented to stay with us: but if you are not after you shall be here awhile we will send you home so that you shall be at no expense.

Come this week if possible & the sooner the better.

You had better drop me a few lines lest there be some mistake as to the time you can come.

Yours +c

C. M. Turner

Augusta County:
Eliza H. Stanton to Margaret Dunlap, January 5, 1858

Eliza H. Stanton writes Mag Dunlap to discuss news of their friends and how she spent her Christmas.

To Miss Mag Dunlap
West View Va

January the 5th 1858
Dear Mag

I have just read your letter and was very glad to here from you again, yours found me well and quite happy;; I receive your favour of October the 12th And rote an answer to it a few evenings after;; But on revewing it I concluted not to send you that answer But rite another; defering it from time to time the present evening has arived with out it being answered; Not because I did not wish to answer it + from the fact that I did not have time; As another reason was that I did not know what to [unclear: write] to you,, you still wish to come here to live, I have not heard any thing about Miss Lamb going to leave I rather think that a misstake ,; As I have not heard any thing about any the [unclear: attendance] leaving, I for my part do not know how long I may stay; or how soon I may leave, I have no notion of leaving here now, if I should take the notion to leave why I will rite to you and let you know you wish to know what kind of a Christmas I had; May I first tell you it was as dry a Christmas as ever a seen in my life; I have seen no Christmas yet; nor newyear either This night a week a go I was at a party in town; the party was given by the Firemen of Staunton; They were not many there that I was acquainted with; I enjoyed myself tolerable well considering all things; The immusement of the evening was danceing; of which in corse I did not take part in it; there fore did not do anything but look on and say nothing, you rite as though Mag Potmer was going it Strong with some one , success to her; I wish that I may soon hear the same good news from you; Bob Strawsburg is gone to the West Why I am not supprise to here that you wish to come here, But my Dear Friend there is no use to cry over spilt milk the best way is to take it easy Tell Mag that she must ask me to her wedding when ever she gets married you speak of the singing in West View being very interresting, I was glad to here that, We have no sing here now nor have they had any scince I have bin here

Dear Mag the thoughts crosses my mind of the time we had at Bethelham They are past and gone; But the joyous moments spent there will never loose their influance over me; They are days when my mind wanders back in the past; And gains streanth there from; oh shall we who name the name of Christ ever grow wery in well doing I pray you that we may not Dear Mag I must close for the present hopeing that I may hear soon from you; So good night Mag pleasant dreames throng thy brain Till I shall here from you again

Yours in the bonds of Amity

Eliza H. Stanton, Va

PS Wright Soon

Augusta County:
Ester S. Cook to Margaret Dunlap, June 3, 1855

Ester S. Cook requests that Margaret Dunlap visit her and work in her house.

Churchville Augusta Co Va

June 3rd 1853
To Miss Margaret Dunlap

Well Mag I suppose you have heard that I have moved here. I heard the other day that you were living at Mr Dulls, and I write this to know wheather you will come and live with me a while. I would like you would come if you posibly can. I want you to work as soon as you get this and let me know wheather you can come or not and what you charge a week if you can come Mr. Cook will go for you. I think I would rather have you as I am acquainted with you or used to be, it is a long while since I saw you I have been looking for you to see me ever since we came here I will have to close the stage will be here directly and I want to send it if you get this I want an answer forthwith just as soon as you can write it. for if you cant come we will have to try some one else.

your friend

Esther. S. Cook

From: Corp. William H. Dunlap
 To: Miss Nannie A. Dunlap, Jennings Gap,. Augusta Co., VA.

This letter was written just a week after the end of the Battle of the Wilderness.  In this battle General "Stonewall" Jackson lost an arm which caused his death a few days later.  "Elec" refers to William Alexander Rife, a boy of 15 and a nephew of William H. Dunlap.  "Sam" refers to Samuel Alexander Dunlap, who at that time was a 17-year-old youngster in a cavalry division with a white horse.

To: Miss Nannie A. Dunlap, Jennings Gap, VA. from her brother, Corporal Wm. H. Dunlap, Co. F, 5th VA Infantry.  May 10, 1863 (Postmarked: 'Richmond, VA, May 15th, 1863')

Dear Sister,

I thank God that I have the privilege this morning of writing you a few ----- to let you know that I got through the fight safe.  I am happy to tell you that I was not hurt, neither was Bailey, but our loss was very heavy.  we took 28 men in the fight of our company which 12 of them came out unhurt, that would make 16 killed and wounded.  we had one killed on the field (some very badly wounded) which 2 of them has died since.  The man that was killed you know him not but his name was Carrol.  The 2 that has died since you know one of them is John Spitler and the other is Lt. Calhoun and that would leave 13 still wounded. Some of them you know.  Edward Johns wounded through the leg.  William F. Bailey shot through the arm, George A. Bailey through the shoulder, Dave Bailey little finger shot off, Usbert Vanleer leg amputated; there is several others but I will not name them.  The fight commenced on Wednesday, April the 29 and ended on Tuesday, May the 5.  Our loss was very heavy, our Regiment lost 130 killed and wounded.  God may know it was a hard fight.  General Lee says this is the hardest fight that has been fought since the war (started).  General Jackson was wounded through the arm.  Well, sister, this is all I can tell you about.  Tell Bailey his Regiment was not in the fight but it was under heavy cannonading which several of them was wounded.  I saw Sam Baylor yesterday, he said they had two of their Company wounded by a shell. But sister,  the worst sight I ever seen was so many men burnt to death.  There was a large boundary of woods where we fought last Sunday and at the commencement of the fight the Yankees set the woods on fire, but the good will of God the wind was in our favor and drove the fire on their ground and burnt up all their wounded which they could not get out of the woods, and the same day there was one of their hospitals set on fire by one of our shells which a great many of them burnt up there. Well, sister, I must close hoping these few lines may find you in good health.  William B. D. sends you his love, he is not very well.  Tell Elec I have a Yankee cap for him.  I will send it the first chance.  Tell all of my friends I am well and got through the fight safe.  Please write soon and  ----- all the news.

Your affectionate brother,


General Lee had ordered preaching in all Regiments too and all men must attend.  I got a Letter from Sam the other day, he was well, so nothing more at present,

Yours truly,

Wm. H. Dunlap

This is Monday morning.  Mr. Calhoun is here waiting for a coffin and box to put his son in.  He will get home tomorrow or next day, so nothing more.

P.S.  I got your note last evening that you sent by Logan.  I did not get the meat Mother sent.  Logan did not come himself.  So I will close.

Wm. H. Dunlap


James Frederick Dunlap, about whom the author of the letter is writing, was George A. Dunlap's
nephew and the son of Archibald Dunlap, Jr., George's brother.


Warrensburg, MO, Dec 22d 1869


 G. A. Dunlap, Esq.

Dear Sir - Yours of the 9th inst was received this day, and I cheerfully give you the information you requested. James F. Dunlap was under my immediate command in the summer of 1864 I was in command of an Outpost at that time where I was compelled to keep out a picket or patrol guard day and night.  James Dunlap was on duty in the fare part of the day; and in the after part of the day was in camp when he and several of the other boys got into a scuffle and one of them (without any cause) stabbed him in the breast which in the course of three or four days proved fatal. He was immediately taken to a United States hospital where he was well taken care of and received all the attention and care that could be given to anyone, but it was beyond all human power ot save his life. I cannot close this letter without adding my testimony to the character and patriotism of as true and noble a soldier as ever lived.  he knew his duty and performed it in such a manner as to command the admiration and respect of his officers as well as that of his comrades, all of whom most sincerely mourned his untimely death. And I, as one of his officers, tender to his bereaved Mother my most heartfelt sympathy in this, her affliction, and hope that she will find consolation in the fact that no dishonorable or dishonest act of his has ever placed a stain upon his character and that while his body sleeps in an honored grave, his many virtues and his many acts of heroic devotion to the cause of liberty and justice will long find a warm place in the hearts and memory of his comrades.


Very Respectfully Yours,

 G. Will. Houts


From: William H. Dunlap and James L. Dunlap
To: Miss Nannie A. Dunlap, West View P. O.. Augusta Co., VA.


 James L. Dunlap was better known as Logan Dunlap and was a son of George A. Dunlap and Julia (Kerr) Dunlap -- a first cousin of William H. Dunlap.  "Little Sis" in this letter refers to Henrietta ("Sis") C. Perry.  "Bailey" refers to William Bailie (Bayley) Dunlap, a brother of Logan Dunlap.  Jacob Rohrer was a brother of my grandmother, Eliza Ann (Rohrer) Dunlap --children of Martin Rohrer, 1809-1883 and Mary (Funk) Rohrer, 18



 To: Miss Nannie A. Dunlap, West View P. O., Augusta Co., VA. (August 19, 1862)

Dear Sister,

 I am going to drop you a few lines and send it by Mr. Acord. well, sister, I am sorry to tell you that we have a man in our regiment that is to be shot this evening for desertion.  He was caught last night near the Yankee line. He has been under arrest for some time -- he has not done any good since he has been in service.  He belongs to the Mountain Guards.  His name is Riddle.  They have him placed in the woods about 100 yards from camp.  He never ceases praying.  It is a distressing sight well, Nan, I have no news to write anoy we are expecting a big fight here in a day or so, we have a large force here, there's not less than 50,000 men here.  well, Nan, we are laying in about 5 miles of the Yankees.  we are about 15 miles below Gordonsville in Orange Co.  we have to keep three or four days rations on hand all the time.  we get nothing but bacon and crackers all the time.  I would like to be at home to get something good to eat.  well, Nan, I must bring my letter to a close by asking you to answer this soon and give my love to one and all, especially to little Sis.  Logan is well. Baily is well except he has got a boil on him and he is not fir for duty.

Nan, I am going to send 10 dollars in this letter to Mag.  Please give it to her the first chance you get.  I would have sent it with yours but I did not have it.  Tell Mag she must keep it and you must do the same.  Give my love to Jacob Rohrer,

Your affectionate brother,

 William H. Dunlap


 Dear Cousin,

 I embrace this present opportunity this morning being W. H. was dropping you a few lines I thought I would drop you a few, so Nancy, I sat down safe and found the most of the boys well and I hope that when you get these lines that they may find you the same.  well, Nancy, I haven't much news to write to you, only we are living close to the Yankee army and expecting a fight.  I suppose that W. H. D. told you about a man that is to be shot today for deserting.  He is in Company H from Fishersville.  He is to be shot at 5 o'clock this evening.  I can tell you some of them on Pine Run had better look ourt for the dog hide. well, Nancy, I must close for this time for my paper is getting scarce.  Give my love to all of my inquiring friends and you take a good portion for yourself.  Nothing more at present.

Yours truly,

It will please me if you write soon to James L. Dunlap.


Letter of May 23. 1861

From: William H. Dunlap, 1841-

To: Miss Margaret Dunlap, 1836-1922

William Henry Dunlap was serving in the Confederate infantry when he wrote this letter to his older sister and was encamped at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. His company commander was Capt. Roberts. I am quite sure that Capt. Roberts was the one and same Captain Francis C. Roberts who married Barbara Virginia Palmer, a first cousin of my grandfather, Samuel Alexander Dunlap. The postal service in 1861 was ‘poor”-- the same as it is 120 years later.

Letter of August 19, 1962

From: William H. Dunlap and James L. Dunlap

To: Miss Nannie A. Dunlap, West View P. 0.. Augusta Co., Va..

James L. Dunlap was better known as "Logan" Dunlap and was a son of George A. Dunlap and Julia (Kerr) Dunlap--a first cousin of William H. Dunlap. “Little Sis" in this letter refers to Henrietta (Sis”) C. Perry. “Bailey” refers to William Bailie (Bayley) Dunlap, a brother of Logan Dunlap. Jacob Rohrer was a brother of my grandmother, Eliza Ann (Rohrer) Dunlap--children of Martin Rohrer, 1809-1883 and Mary (Funk) Rohrer, 1807-1893.

Letter of May 10, 1863

From: Corp. William H. Dunlap

To: Miss Nannie A. Dunlap, Jennings Gap, Augusta Co., Va.

This letter was written just a week after the end of the Battle of the Wilderness. In this battle General “Stonewall” Jackson lost an arm which caused his death a few days later. "Elec" refers to William Alexander Rife, a boy of 15 and a nephew of William H. Dunlap. “Sam” refers to Samuel Alexander Dunlap, my grandfather, who at that time was a 17-year-old youngster in a cavalry division with a white horse.

Letter of December 22, 1869

From: G. Will. Houts

To: George A. Dunlap, Esq.

This letter tells of the incidents leading to the wounding and death of James Frederick Dunlap while at a Yankee outpost near Fort Arthur, Texas.

Letter of March 14. 1875

From: “Jennie” (Virginia Palmer Roberts), 1828-1924

To: Miss Nannie Dunlap, Churchville. Va.., 1838-1911

"Nick Ryan” -- an old colored man who used to operate shoe-repair shop in the Churchville area. “Uncle Jim Dunlap’ -- unmarried brother of her mother. “Junie’ -- unmarried daughter of her mother’s brother (George A. Dunlap). Compare food prices of 1875 with those of today! “Pappa’ -- her father, Phillip Olinger Palmer. ‘Aunt Nancy" -- her mother’s unmarried sister. Eidson Branch of Middle River which heads near Hebron: named after the Eidson family. “Aunt Julia" -- her mother's sister-in-law (Julia Kerr Dunlap). “Mag --’ Margaret Eve (Dunlap) Argenbright, my grandfather Dunlap's older sister.


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Wanda Bostic Dunlap has done research on the Family Tree since 2003, as she finds new information I edit our website.

This site was designed by Jerry L. Dunlap
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Revised: August 27, 2012.