Andrew C. L. Gatewood Civil War Papers
VMI Cadet & 11th Virginia Cavalry
Manuscript #068

Civil War Letters & Diaries home 

 Gatewood cadet photoDescription
The bulk of the papers consist of 28 letters written by Gatewood to his parents and other family members, 1860-1864; these all appear online in full-text format. Early letters describe life at the Virginia Military Institute (hazing, daily routine, excitement about secession, cadets as drillmasters) and in Lexington, Virginia, just prior to and during early months of the Civil War. Subsequent letters date from his service with the 11th Virginia Cavalry Regiment, Company F, (Bath Squadron), including a letter written after the second Battle of Manassas (2nd Bull Run), Sept 1862. The following items are part of the collection, but do not appear online: "History of the Bath Squadron," consisting of manuscript fragment, copies of the series of published newspaper articles concerning the unit, and an edited transcription; miscellaneous publications concerning Confederate veterans reunions; and Gatewood's VMI cadet account book.

Photo: Andrew C. L. Gatewood, Class of 1864, (right) and James Woods Warwick, Jr., Class of 1864 (left). Photo taken in Staunton, July 1861

Biographical note
Andrew Cameron Lewis Gatewood was born at Mountain Grove, Bath County, Virginia, on June 30, 1843, the son of Samuel Vance Gatewood (1810-1861) and Eugenia Sophia Massie (1819-1884). Gatewood entered the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, Virginia in July 1860, where he served as a cadet until the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861. On April 16, 1861, he accompanied the Corps of Cadets to Richmond, Virginia, where he served as a drillmaster to new Confederate recruits; he subsequently served in the same capacity under General Robert S. Garnett at Laurel Hill, Barbour Co., West Virginia. He joined the 11th Virginia Cavalry Regiment in March 1862 and was elected 2nd Lieutenant, "F" Company (Bath Squadron); he served in this unit until the end of the war. At the close of the Civil War, Gatewood returned to Bath County. His father had died suddenly in 1861, without leaving a will, and as the oldest son Andrew took on responsibility for his family's affairs. He married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Skillern Warwick (1845-1922) in 1869. The couple moved to Big Spring, Pocahontas Co., West Virginia in 1877, where Gatewood spent the remainder of his life working as a farmer and stock raiser. Mary and Andrew Gatewood had 7 children: William Beale; Eugene Samuel; Massie Cameron; Andrew Warwick; Mary Preston; Eliza Pleasants, and one child who died in infancy. Andrew C. L. Gatewood died July 31, 1919, at Pocahontas Co.

Full Text 

Correspondence, 1860 - VMI Cadet Life

  • August 4, VMI. Initiation of new cadets; early reference to term "rat" as a name for a new cadet; complains of homesickness; comments on living in camp.
  • August 25, VMI. Daily routine of cadets; life in camp; difficulty of studies.
  • Sept. 1, VMI. Dismantling camp and moving into barracks.
  • Sept 20, VMI. Family matters.
  • Dec. 22, VMI Upcoming examinations; Christmas holiday; secession of South Carolina.
  • Dec 22, VMI. To his brother. Mentions examination; secession of South Carolina.

Correspondence, 1861 -VMI Cadet Life

  • Jan 9, VMI. Exam results; more states secede; prospect of war.
  • Feb 1, VMI. Discusses a runaway slave belonging to the family. Mentions willingness of cadets to fight to "save Virginia".
  • Feb 8, VMI.invitation to a party; comments on his studies; requests money
  • March 10, VMI Squad drill; general news; speculates about Virginia secession/war.
  • March 25, VMI. Needs new summer pants; cloth costly.
  • April 2, VMI. General news; tired of living in barracks; anxious to return to camp in July.
  • April 15, VMI. Confrontation between the cadets/secessionist faction of Lexington citizens, and citizens in favor of maintaining the Union ("flag raising incident").
  • April 18, VMI. Excitement among VMI cadets as Virginia decides to secede; suspension of academic duties; cadets prepare for war.
  • April 20, VMI. Corps will be ordered to Richmond to drill recruits.
  • April 28, Richmond. Describes journey from Lexington to Richmond; more news of drilling new recruits.
  • early May, Richmond Gatewood is drilling a company of new recruits; hopes for a commission.
  • May 11, Ashland. Transferred to the Ashland Camp of Instruction to drill recruits.
  • May 29, VMI. Returned to the Institute to drill new cadets & college students. Complains that he is not paid for his services and is still expected to pay room and board. Hopes to get a furlough.

Correspondence, 1861-1864 -11th Virginia Cavalry

  • 1861 June 7, Mt. Grove. Serving in Confederate Army, 11th Virginia Cavalry, Company F.
  • 1862 Sept 3, Manassas. To his sister. A description of the 2nd battle at Manassas (2nd Bull Run).
  • 1863 March 14, in camp. General news. Thinks he will soon be sent to Harrisonburg. Mentions victory at Vicksburg.
  • 1863 March 26, in camp. General news
  • 1864 April 9, in camp. General news; Encamped at Falling Springs Church in Rockbridge County. Brigade ordered by General Rosser to wear badge of laurel leaves.
  • 1864 April 16, in camp. Gatewood's regiment presented the Corps of Cadets with a captured flag.
  • 1864 April 27. In camp at Waynesboro. Orders to march and battle expected. General news.
  • 1864 April 29. Brigade ordered to Eastern Va.
  • 1864 August 9 General news/illness in camp