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Nathaniel V. Watkins Family Papers

Identifier: Mss. 39.1 W32 and 2008.306

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

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, North Carolina.

The collection also includes correspondence of other members of the Watkins family of Prince Edward County, Virginia and of the Daniel family of Granville County, North Carolina. 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, Virginia during Reconstruction.

The collection includes letters concerning slavery before and during the Civil War as well as letters written from formerly enslaved persons.

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.


  • Creation: 1846-1889
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1862-1865


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Biographical Information:

Nathaniel Venable Watkins served in the Civil War, in Company H, 4th Virginia Heavy Artillery, which later became part of the 34th Virginia Infantry Regiment. He was from Granville County, North Carolina. C. Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: Nathaniel Venable Watkins


2.00 Linear Feet

Acquisition Information:

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.

Processing Information:

Processed by Beth Holmes (1989) and Derek Stepp (1990). Box and Folder List compiled by Kassia Halcli, SCRC staff, in October 2011.


Guide to the Nathaniel V. Watkins Family Papers
Beth Holmes and Derek Stepp (1990) and Anne Johnson (2011).
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository