Many men from Waynesboro and the surrounding areas have served their country bravely when they were called to war. Often when it comes to the historical records of who served in America’s wars the records are found to be incomplete or are lost over time for various reasons. Records from Vietnam, Korea, and World War II are relatively complete and available to the public. However, when it comes to the Civil War, which was fought 150 years ago, the passage of time has made those records much more rare and more incomplete. Time takes its toll as the years go by, and many documents have been thrown away, lost, stolen, or damaged beyond all recognition. Until recently much about the brave men from our area who served during the Civil War has remained a mystery.
More light has been thankfully shed with the recent discovery of seven pages of records for D Company, 25th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Virginia Volunteers, in the Army of the Confederate States. The unit was largely made up of local volunteers from Waynesboro, Staunton, Churchville, Fishersville, Greensville, and Stuarts Draft amongst other nearby localities. After years of being lost and neglected, the papers were finally found at the Waynesboro Public Library and rescued. Now they have been preserved and are being kept at the Library of Virginia. Even though the documents are no longer kept in Waynesboro for viewing, the Library of Virginia has made exceptionally high quality digital copies of the documents and has given a set to the Waynesboro Heritage Foundation for research.
The documents of Company D are of a roll listing the names, towns of residence, places of enlistment, details of wounds or death, and other notes about the individuals serving. For locals doing genealogy about relatives who may have served during the Civil War the documents are invaluable and may answer many questions. William Burns is buried at the Presbyterian Cemetery just a few blocks from the Plumb House Civil War Museum. Before these documents were found the only information known about William Burns was the information given on his gravestone. Now we know more details about his service and when and where he died. According to the newly found papers William Burns was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in May of 1962. We now know he was killed on May 6th, 1864 at the Second Battle of the Wilderness.
William Burns is just one man out of many listed in the documents from this area. The other names on the list have to be researched. We are very thankful that these Civil War documents have been found and preserved for future generations. They further help define local history and gives a better sense of what our local communities had to endure so many years ago. But more importantly it helps us honor those who served bravely and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Below, we present to you for viewing and download, high resolution images of the Company D documents.