Historian James McPherson has stated that “Civil War armies were the most literate in all history to that time.” Historians continue to uncover diaries, letters, and other written accounts of the war written by soldiers and accounts of life on the home front. Recently, the Library of Congress digitized a set of letters it has held since 1937. The letters are between husband and wife Mary Ann and John Arnold of Pennsylvania. The correspondence reveals that Mary Ann was illiterate and that she had to rely on neighbors to write letters she would dictate, as well as to read the letters she received from her soldier-husband. These poignant letters are a reminder of the sacrifices and worries that plagued families on both sides of the war. You can read an article about the letters here.

Access the digitized letters here.

United Daughters of the ConfederacySince becoming Virginia Division President, Ginger Stephens has contacted several Internet sites concerning inaccurate descriptions of the UDC as a “white supremacist” group. The entries are biased and pay little attention to our benevolent support of widows, descendants, and veterans of all American wars. The sites include Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia of Virginia. The entries are not written by a UDC member, and the UDC was not contacted for content. Members offering assistance with revisions received no response from the sites’ editors.

President Stephens has articulated to the managers of these sites that the primary objectives of the UDC are: Historical, Educational, Benevolent, Memorial and Patriotic. Read about some of the efforts in this article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 6, 2018.  Please note that these efforts benefit the entire UDC organization, not just the Virginia Division.

The 123rd Annual Convention of the Virginia Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy was held in Roanoke from October 4 through October 7, 2018. The convention was hosted by the chapters of the First District (which includes Fincastle).

Eleven members of the Fincastle Chapter attended the convention. The theme of the convention was “Lest We Forget” and the ceremonies and presentations throughout the convention highlighted this sentiment. Each registered attendee also received a booklet containing brief histories on some of the notable wartime places, people, and events from Southwest Virginia.

On Historical Evening, the Virginia Division presented five Crosses of Military Service and one National Defense Medal. The convention delegates also voted to create the Monument Defense Fund, which will financially assist groups that are seeking to protect Virginia Confederate monuments.

The 2019 UDC Student Essay Topics are now available.

Click on “UDC Student Essay Contest” tab for topics and rules.

Fincastle 797 has been proud to have a Division winning essay for two years in a row!

The winning essay in each grade wins $50 from the Division and an additional $10 from the Chapter.

Essays must be postmarked by April 15, 2019.

On August 4, 2018, the Fincastle Chapter presented Carlos Lee Showalter with a Military Service Award for his service in World War II. Mr. Showalter joined the U.S. Marines at age 17 and served in the Pacific Theatre seeing action in Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. Of the 238 men in Showalter’s company, 93 were killed during the war and only 16 survived without injury. Mr. Showalter was one of the 16.

Mr. Showalter is a descendant of Jacob Showalter, who served in Co A of the 5th Virginia Infantry during the War Between the States.

Following the bestowal of the Cross of Military Service, Mr. Showalter, a sharp and active 93-year old, engaged the chapter with his presentation “The Life of A Young Marine.”

The Fincastle Chapter members thank Mr. Showalter for his courage and valor, and service to his country. The members also thank the family members who were present and made the day special.

World War II Cross of Military Service