In my current project at Swem Library’s Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), I have been working on checking the transcriptions that have been uploaded by our transcription volunteers. Although I am not currently working on a particular collection, checking transcriptions of letters written during the Civil War is an incredibly rewarding experience. As I go through the digital archives, I come across letters from an incredibly large cross-section of Americans. Some documents are written by generals and lieutenants, others are written by doctors and lawyers, and others are written by wives and sisters.
The Special Collections Research Center at Swem Library has begun a transcription initiative as part of the “From Fights to Rights: The Long Road to a More Perfect Union” project. The transcription work is a massive effort by volunteers to transcribe selected documents such as diaries and letters and make them available online. One of the first documents selected for transcription is the diary of Asa John Wyatt. Wyatt was a Confederate officer in Company I of the 21st regiment of the Virginia Infantry under the command of Stonewall Jackson. His diary includes accounts of his participation in Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign in the spring of 1862.