Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Meet historians today at book-signing

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

On Saturday morning, the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust will launch the ninth edition of its annual journal, “Fredericksburg History & Biography,” featuring the newly annotated Civil War diary of city resident Betty Herndon Maury (above).

The event will be held from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Eileen’s Café at 1115 Caroline St.

In addition to the Maury diary, the journal includes primary-source accounts edited by National Park Service historians Russ Smith, Noel Harrison and John Hennessy, and Breck O’Donnell of Spotsylvania County.

The ninth volume in the trust’s annual journal, the 2010 edition draws upon the wealth of material on Fredericksburg during the Civil War.

Carolyn Carpenter carefully transcribed the Maury diary from the original handwritten manuscript at the Library of Congress. Carpenter’s version preserves the diarist’s various spellings.

An important firsthand account from a Virginia community amidst the chaos of war, Maury’s diary is included in Richard B. Harwell’s “Tall Cotton: The 200 Most Important Confederate Books for the Reader, Researcher, and Collector.”

Smith, superintendent of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, transcribed and annotated a diary kept by Dr. Brodie S. Herndon.

A third article, by Noel G. Harrison, examines political discourse in Spotsylvania County when a newly written Constitution was up for ratification and being debated in 1787–1788.

Breck O’Donnell, an 11th-grader who has been interested in the Civil War since moving to Fredericksburg six years ago, wrote a piece on a newly discovered account of the Union occupation of the area.

The trust, which has preserved nearly 900 acres of the area’s battlefields, is now raising money to acquire key acreage at the Wilderness.

For more information on the newest edition of “Fredericksburg History,” as well as the Wilderness Crossroads preservation effort, visit CVBT’s website,