Skip to main content

Alexander Sterrett Paxton Papers

Identifier: WLU-Coll-0372

Scope and Contents

This collection consiste of Alexander Sterrett Paxton's journals in six volumes (484 p.)during the American Civil War. They cover his service as a member of the 4th Virginia Infantry of the Stonewall Brigade, including his role as a Commissary Sergeant of the regiment. Journal entries explore the war experiences of a Confederate foot soldier and include: his insights into motives for war; observations and descriptions of ranking officers, fellow soldiers, friends and family; detailed accounts of battles and campaigns; and experiences in hospitals and camps, including a few pencil-drawn maps of Stonewall Brigade camps (1861-1862). Volume 6 includes a month-long dream journal that Paxton kept in 1864. The collection also includes correspondence between Paxton's second wife, Mary Frances Tapscott Paxton, and her family; ten pre and post-war photographs of Paxton, his brother, Joseph McClung Paxton and other family members (Tapscott family and Lilley family of Augusta County, Va.); and a ca.1860 fraternity/secret society bylaws document handwritten by Paxton.


  • Creation: Inclusive 1858-1959
  • Creation: Majority of material found within Bulk 1861-1865


Conditions Governing Use

The materials from Washington and Lee University Special Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user assumes full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used should be fully credited with the source. Permission for publication of this material, in part or in full, must be secured with the Head of Special Collections.

Biographical / Historical

Alexander Sterrett Paxton was a native of Rockbridge County, Virginia and an 1861 alumnus of Washington College. He was an original member of the Liberty Hall Volunteers, the Washington College Company established for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. After the war, he served as a professor of rhetoric and oratory and headmaster at a number of schools in Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina. He married twice, first to Mamie Nall of Mobile, Alabama, and later to Mary Frances Tapscott of Augusta County, Virginia.


.4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Processing Information

Blue sheet prepared by Seth McCormick-Goodhart (Nov. 3, 2011)

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Washington and Lee University, University Library Special Collections and Archives Repository

204 W. Washington St.
Lexington VA 24450 USA