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in Society  

an initiative at Virginia Tech    

Civil War Diary of J. W. Ryland 

(courtesy of Stuart V. Price)

This transcribed and annotated diary holds a wealth of valuable details regarding John William Ryland (1836-1905), who enlisted in Company K, 34th Virginia Infantry Regiment; his service as a spiritual leader there led to his postwar civilian calling as a Baptist minister.  


Topics include the creation of the Confederate States of America; rail cars; the Siege of Charleston, SC; the Siege of Petersburg; the Battle of Sailors Creek (Amelia County, VA); the surrender at Appomattox Court House; and the weary Confederate trek home following April 9, 1865.

  • Part I: September 1863 to May 6, 1864, with editor’s introduction

  • Part II: May 10, 1864 to September 1865, with editor’s notes

This transcription and notes were created by Stuart Price, a descendant. In the future, we hope to present a digitized copy of the diary.


The University of Virginia holds a microfilm copy of two related diaries penned 1863–1865 by Lieutenant Josiah and Thomas Ryland.  These diaries are relevant and linked to this diary: the first entry in the J.W. Ryland diary is, “New Year’s present from Cousin Josiah, 1864.”

Josiah Ryland obtained several pocket-sized booklets he distributed to family members from King and Queen County.

Unfortunately Josiah became a prisoner of war held at Fort
Delaware while John W. Ryland continued his service until
the surrender at Appomattox.

Grave site of the Rev. John W. Ryland and his wife. (Feb 5, 2014)

See also Stuart Price, "The Church: One of the First Military Veterans Organizations."  Veterans in Society 2015: Race and/or Reconciliation (conference proceedings).

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