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Gallaher and Briscoe Family Confederate Papers

Identifier: SC 0250
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

These papers relate to members of the extended family of Lieutenant William Bowen Gallaher (1840-1911) and Amelia Frances Briscoe Gallaher (1845-1911), and document their involvement with the Waynesboro Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Maryland Line Confederate Soldiers Home, and the Grand Camp C. V. Department of Virginia. It includes two personal letters from Virginia governor John Letcher to Hugh Lafferty Gallaher, written in 1858, before Letcher assumed the office of Virginia governor.

An 1864 account by M.J. Baldwin lists expenses charged to Amelia Briscoe, then 19 years old, presumably for her education. It contains line items for Washing, French, Latin, Music and Use of Piano.

The papers contain two letters from attorney and Virginia governor John Letcher to Hugh L. Gallaher (father of William Bowen Gallaher). In an 1858 letter, written in Lexington, Virginia, Letcher thanks Hugh L. Gallaher for the role his son took in relaying information about his nomination for governor at the “Petersburg Convention.” A handwritten note on the back of the letter by Juliet Hite Gallaher states that “Papa rode horse back to Lexington to notify him of his election…exchanged horses.”

The papers include two letters from William H. Pope, Superintendent of the Maryland Line Confederate Soldiers Home regarding the condition of Captain John Lamar Briscoe, a Confederate veteran and brother to Amelia Frances Briscoe Gallaher. One 1884 letter is addressed to Briscoe’s sister Mrs. J.B. Miller (Juliet B.) of Germantown, Maryland, and another written in 1900 is addressed to Mr. D.C. Gallaher in Charleston, West Virginia.

An 1887 letter from H.H. Stuart to a William W. Corcoran Esquire, chairman of the Joint Commission for the Completion of the Washington Monument, recommends that William Gallaher be appointed as a superintendent of the construction of the Washington Monument. Stuart writes that Gallaher has been a “large contractor on various railroads and canals, and has had much experience, especially in the construction of masonry.”

Other documents relate to the Elliot G. Fishburne Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Waynesboro. One 1910 letter is addressed to Juliet Hite Gallaher, Vice President of the Waynesboro Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, from Julian Pratt, of Grand Camp Confederate Veterans, Department of Virginia. Another document lists of members of the Waynesboro Chapter, dated 1886 – 1925, with their related veteran and their rank/station. It appears that deceased members were crossed out.


  • 1858-1925


Access Restrictions

Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Bio/Historical Note

Hugh Lafferty Gallaher, born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania in 1812, spent most of his life in Waynesboro, Virginia. Gallaher married Elizabeth Bowen of Shepherdstown, Virginia, and in 1848 moved their 4 sons and 3 daughters to a prominent home, “Rose Hall,” located near the Virginia Central Railroad in Waynesboro. Gallaher owned farms, a mill, and a tannery in and around Waynesboro. His loyalty during the Civil War was a subject of controversy, as he was known to entertain both Union and Confederate soldiers in his home. In 1871 he petitioned the Southern Claims Commission that he should be reimbursed for $32,587.50 worth of property, purportedly taken by U.S. troops to benefit the U.S. Army, invoking a provision intended to reimburse Southerners who had remained loyal to the Union during the war. The claim was challenged and denied, and further investigation revealed that Gallaher had served as a blockade runner and privateer for the Confederacy.

Sons, William Bowen (1840-1911) and Dewitt Clinton (D.C.) Gallaher were born in Shepherdstown, Virginia (now West Virginia) and attended Waynesboro Academy in Waynesboro as youth. Both fought for the Confederate army and William was present at the battle of First Manassas in 1861. William B. worked as an engineer and Dewitt went on to become an attorney. William married Amelia Frances Briscoe (1845-1911), a member of a prominent Maryland family. The family lived at an estate called “Springdale,” near Waynesboro.

Juliet Hite Gallaher (1871-1951), oldest daughter of William B. and Amelia Briscoe Gallaher, served as Vice President of the Waynesboro chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, and appeared to have written several articles for Good Housekeeping magazine in the 1910s.

Capt. John L. Briscoe (1836-1900), brother to Amelia Briscoe Gallaher and Juliet B. Miller, served in the Confederate army as an Assistant Quartermaster in Mahone’s Division.


0.08 cubic feet (1 legal folder)

Language of Materials



The collection consists of papers related to the family of Lieutenant William Bowen Gallaher (1840-1911) and Amelia Frances Briscoe Gallaher (1845-1911). Documents reveal family members’ involvement with the Waynesboro Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Maryland Line Confederate Soldiers Home, and the Grand Camp C.V. Department of Virginia. It also contains personal correspondence between Virginia governor John Letcher and Hugh L. Gallaher.


Documents are housed in a single legal folder.


According to the record of sale, the papers were formerly part of the estate of Gene H. Baber, of Fishersville Virginia. The seller’s description reads: “Lot of 16 pieces, manuscript and printed, including five-page listing of the members of the Elliott G. Fishburne Chapter of the UDC, Waynesboro VA (organized 1896) from 1896 to 1925, two 1858 autograph letters signed by John Letcher, Civil War governor of Virginia written from Lexington, VA to Hugh Gallaher, and three letters concerning Confederate Veterans. 1864-1925. Various sizes. Excellent overall condition with expected folds.”

Acquisition Information

Items were purchased at auction on November 10, 2017, from Jeffrey S. Evans and Associates (Lot #202).


  • Richard G. Williams, Jr. “In the Shadow of the Blue Ridge.” The Battle of Waynesboro. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2014. (accessed December 13, 2017).
  • The Valley of the Shadow. “Gallaher family, 1861, 1864-1865: The War Years.” Accessed December 13, 2017.
  • Find A Grave. “John Lamar Briscoe (1836-1900).” Find a Grave Memorial no. 19981668. Accessed December 12, 2017.
  • Find A Grave. “Hugh L. Gallaher (1818-1896).” Find a Grave Memorial no. 52543409. Accessed 12 December 2017.



A Guide to the Gallaher and Briscoe Family Confederate Papers, 1858-1925
Sarah Roth-Mullet
December 2017
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Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

820 Madison Drive
MSC 1706
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612