Unionists and the Civil War Experience
in the Shenandoah Valley
CIVIL WAR HISTORY RELATING TO LOYAL CITIZENS (UNIONISTS) LIVING IN THE SOUTH
Valley Research Associates are recovering and publishing the claims made against the Federal Government by loyal citizens (Unionists) of the Shenandoah Valley for losses incurred while Union troops were camped on and around their farms: These Unionists lived in the South and suffered at the hands of both the Union Armies as well as their antagonistic neighbors who hated them for not supporting the Confederate Cause. The true extent and influence of the Unionists in the South has not been fully examined by historians. There were many thousands of them. Over twenty thousand submitted claims to the Federal Government.
These records in the National Archives contain valuable historical and genealogical information most of which has never before been made public or seen the light of day. It is estimated that the material for Rockingham County alone will require the publication of six large volumes.
The first was published in the fall of 2003, with Volumes Two through Four being published in the following 4 years. Volume 5 was published in 2009, and Volume 6 in 2013.
These books begin to mine the rich social history pertaining to the Civil War. Here you will meet some of the devout, frugal and industrious folk who nurtured the agricultural bounty of the Valley only to see the fruit of this labor confiscated in random acts of violence and injustice during the war.
Of particular interest are the families of Brethren and Mennonite descent, as well as families of the Methodist Episcopal and German Reformed Churches. Within these attractively bound hardcover volumes you will find stories of war-engendered suffering, loss of life and property, miscarriages of justice and struggles of conscience.
Emmert F. Bittinger, Editor; David Rodes and Norman Wenger, Compilers, Unionists and the Civil War Experience in the Shenandoah Valley, (Dayton, Va.: Valley Research Associates, 2003-20013), Volumes 1-6
Unionists: VOLs i-vi
- Volume I - Contains Southern Claims Commission descriptions of 37 families of Brethren, Mennonite and other faiths in the Mt. Crawford and Cross Keys areas of southeast Rockingham County, Virginia
- Volume II - Highlights the stories of 32 families of Brethren, Mennonite and other faiths who lived in the Greenmount, Linville and Edom areas of northwest Rockingham County, Virginia
- Volume III - Highlights the stories of 56 families of Brethren, Mennonite and other faiths of the Bridgewater, Dayton, and rural areas of Rockingham County, Virginia.
- Volume IV - Highlights the stories of 60 families of Brethren, Mennonite and other faiths of Broadway, Cootes Store and Timberville areas of Rockingham County, Virginia.
- Volume V - Highlights the stories of 56 families of Brethren, Mennonite and other faiths in Mill Creek, Port Republic, Elkton and east side of Rockingham County, Virginia.
- Volume VI - Summarizes the Claims of Brethren and Mennonite families who lived in Dayton, Harrisonburg, Hopkins Mill, Lacy Springs, Melrose, Tenth Legion, Timberville areas of Rockingham County, Virginia (1000 plus pages)
Volume i | Volume ii | Volume iii | Volume iv | Volume v | Volume vi
Rockingham County businessmen Norman R. Wenger and David S. Rodes have researched the archival records of the Southern Claims Commission and compiled the claims these families submitted to the U.S. Government for compensation after the war. The claimants' stories, written by Emmert F. Bittinger, reveal physical hardship, struggles of conscience and fear of losing one’s life.
Editor Emmert Bittinger, Professor Emeritus of Bridgewater College, has prepared the numerous documents for publication and written an insightful introduction to Volumes I-V. His comments and claim summaries set each in context and help the reader to understand the claim and how the Claims Commission responded to it.
This series is co-published by the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center,
P.O. Box 1563, Harrisonburg, VA 22803