School Receives Diary of Imprisoned Civil War Soldier

Wren Building drawing: “Rear view of the College VA,” by James Taylor, August 1862. This is what the Wren Building would have looked like when Henry Scandrett was imprisoned there. Union soldiers would burn the Wren Building just four months after Scandrett’s capture. Swem Library photo

On a cold, rainy day in May 1862, a young Union soldier, Henry Alexander Scandrett, would experience his first battle. Unfortunately it would be a losing battle. His regiment, the 70th New York, joined the attack on Confederate lines at Fort Magruder, an earthen redoubt two miles east of Williamsburg. The regiment saw heavy action; 350 men were killed or wounded. A small group of survivors, including Scandrett, were taken as prisoners of war and held at William & Mary.

Writing in his pocket diary, Scandrett’s first entry on May 5, 1862 begins with a significant announcement:

A page from Scandrett’s diary that mentions being held prisoner at William & Mary.
A page from Scandrett’s diary that mentions being held prisoner at William & Mary.

“Was in my first battle today. About 1 Oclock P.M. our regiment was marched into the field about. We were thrown in advance and through some blunder was not reinforced. We have lost all our company officers and our field officers …

Read more at Southern Partisan Online
(The opinions in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Southern Nation News or SN.O.)

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