Military History Manuscripts

Quick Guide

This list is made available for researchers who want to browse a concise list of personal papers relating to Military History during various eras. The Civil War era is found in a separate guide. It is not a substitute for the online catalog.

The online catalog is the best resource for detailed searching, direct links to full text, and the most up-to-date information about our manuscripts holdings.

John Lee Couper Album

Collection Spotlight: Dr. John L. Couper Papers

World War II correspondence and photographs of Dr. John L. Couper (VMI Class of 1937), concerning his service in Europe with the U. S. Army Medical Corps, 2nd Evacuation Hospital.

Addison, William M.  Papers. (MS 0060)
Addison, VMI Class of 1919. served as an Army chaplain in Germany following World War II. Papers, 1928-1946, concerning his activities as civilian and U.S. Army Chaplain representing the Christian Science faith.

Almond, Edward Mallory, Collection. (MS 0089)
Virginia Military Institute, Class of 1915; Lt. Gen., United States Army; member VMI Board of Visitors; d. 1979, San Antonio, Texas; buried Arlington National Cemetery. Descriptive note: The collection (ca. 21 items) includes transcripts of two oral history interviews.  Other items include photographs (16 items), 1950-1951; misc. documents.

Anderson, Marvin J., papers  (MS 0472).  Online Access (selected) 
Marvin J. Anderson, Jr. (VMI Class of 1943) was serving as a Lieutenant in the U. S. Army Air Force when he was killed in action in Tunisia,  North Africa in 1943 1943. Bulk of papers relate to Anderson's army career. They include flight training documents, photographs, misc. other army records, and a file of documents pertaining to his death and burial.

Arnold, Thomas St. J., papers  (MS 0309)
VMI Class of 1935; United States Army Officer, 1936-1967. Papers from his military career; most items date from World War II. Includes operational reports of the 92nd Infantry Division; misc. maps; photographs; correspondence.

Ayres, H. Fairfax papers  (MS0528) Online Access (selected)
Diaries, 1928-1944, including record of his World War II service supervising convoy; descriptions of London life during the war, records of specific convoys.

Bachtell, Linford B., Papers (MS 0457)
The papers consists primarily of items dating from the U. S. Air Force career of LTC Bachtell.  Included are flight records, log books, and miscellaneous certificates and military orders. Bachtell served as a pilot with the Military Air Transport and during the Vietnam War he piloted supplies to South Vietnam from Taiwan.

Barksdale, Alfred D., Papers (MS 0465) Online Access (selected)
The papers consist of 9 items documenting the World War I U. S. Army career of Alfred Dickinson Barksdale (VMI Class of 1911).  Barksdale served in France in the 116th Infantry, 29th Division, from 1917-1919.  Included is a letter from Barksdale to his sister, dated August 20, 1918, written shortly after his arrival in France.

Britt, Albert S., Papers. (MS 0048)
Papers (1930-1962) of Army officer Albert Sidney Britt, VMI Class of 1930. Includes correspondence, reports, and other documents from Britt's military career. One scrapbook dates from his cadetship at VMI, 1926-1930. Size: 3 linear feet.

Byrd, J. Claiborn, Papers  (MS 0460)
World War II papers of Lt. Col. J. Claiborn Byrd, who served with the 100th Infantry Division. Primarily stateside training materials; misc. documents date from the 100th Division's service in the European Theater.

Burress, Withers A., Papers. (MS 0058)
Papers of General Withers A, Burress, VMI Class of 1914 and career Army officer. The papers cover the period 1942-1954. Included are photographs; subject file about the 100th Infantry Division; scrapbooks, miscellaneous correspondence, military orders and memoranda. 

Cochran, William B., memoirs (MS 0512 ) Online Access
"Reminiscences of Camp Life During World War I."  Typescript autobiography about training camps in the United States by Brigadier General Cochran, Class of 1888.

Cooper, George L. H., Memoirs. (MS 0197)
Typescript memoirs, detailing Cooper's Marine Corps Service in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  He served with the 2d Engineer battalion, 2d Marine Division.

Couper, John L., Papers  (MS 0486).  Selected photos available online
World War II correspondence and photographs of Dr. John L. Couper (VMI Class of 1937), concerning his service in Europe with the U. S. Army Medical Corps, 2nd Evacuation Hospital.

Dabney, William H. (COL), Papers. (MS 0508)
An infantry officer, Colonel Dabney served 37 years in the Marine Corps, including two tours in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, he commanded India Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines, on Hill 881S during the Battle of Khe Sanh, for which he was awarded the Navy Cross in 2005. The papers consist of oral history interviews; printed material; articles and clippings; citations for military awards, photographs; military papers; incoming correspondence

Douglas, Wallace S., Collection  (MS 0486).   
World War II photos and documents concerning Dr. Douglas's (Class of 1922) service as a physician with the U. S. Army Medical Corps stationed in New Caledonia.

Downer, John W. collection.  (MS 0430) Online Access, WWI records
Military career scrapbook of Colonel John W. Downer (VMI Class of 1902), who served in the United States Army from 1901-1943 and was oversees with the AEF, 6th Field Artillery, during WWI. He was also a member of the U. S. Riding Team at the Seventh Olympic Games in 1920.

Gaillard, Fred C., papers (MS 0527)
Includes some items relating to his World War II service with the 377th Infantry Regiment

Gatling, Norborne P. Jr., World War II diary typescript (MS 0514) Online Access
Detailed account of military service; topics include D-Day, Normandy and other European campaigns.

Gerow, Lee S., Papers.   (MS 0228)
Misc. documents from the career of Brig. General Lee S. Gerow (b. 1891 d. 1982), VMI Class of 1913. Includes diplomas, citations, certificates of promotion, photographs, 14 page typescript autobiography (1979), misc. correspondence. Size: 1 lf.

Gerow, Leonard T., Papers. (MS 0100)    Online Access (Eisenhower correspondence)
Documents and photographs (ca. 120 items) from the military career of U.S. Army General Leonard Townsend Gerow (b. 1888 d.1972). Includes correspondence (ca. 25 items, 1940--1945) to and from General Dwight D. Eisenhower; autobiographical material; speeches (1945-1948); photographs. Size: .50 linear feet.

Graham, C. Barrett,  letters.  (MS 0418)
[Access restricted to VMI Cadets and Faculty/Staff] Letters (34 items) of Marine Corps Lieutenant Charles Barrett Graham (VMI Class of 1967). The letters were written to his parents and other family members, primarily during his tour of duty in Vietnam, 1968-1969. 

Hubbard, Mont., Collection  (MS 0444)
The collection consists of two annotated maps used by Col. Mont Hubbard during World War II. A map of France & Germany, 1943; map, "Operation Highlights of the Third Armored Division, 23 June 1944 - 25 April 1945."

Irby, Richard L., Personal Papers (MS 0509)
The papers consist of correspondence and memoranda, military orders, printed material, photographs, scrapbooks, speeches,  and other material primarily documenting the U.S. Army career (1939-1971) of Major General Richard L. Irby. Irby subsequently served as VMI's 10th Superintendent

Kibler, A. Franklin, Papers  (MS 0454)  
During World War II Kibler served under General Omar Bradley as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, 12th Army Group, European Theater. Included are memoranda to and from Kibler and other senior officers (1943-1945); HQ 12th Army Group Commanding General's briefings (1944-1945); reports; and other documents and photos.

Kilbourne, Charles E., Personal Papers (MS 0511)
Major General Charles Evans Kilbourne (b. 1872 d. 1963), an 1894 VMI graduate, had a distinguished career in the U. S. Army before returning to his alma mater to serve as the sixth Superintendent. Misc. army career papers, including information relating to his long association with the Phillipines.

Lee, Robert E. Mexican War Map collection (MS 0277) Online Access
A collection of 30 original military maps used by Robert E. Lee during the Mexican War, 1846-1848. Lee was at that time a Captain in the U.S. Army Engineers Corps. Two of the maps bear his signature.

Lexington Arsenal and Virginia Militia Records (MS 0244) Online Access
Documents concerning the operation of the Lexington Arsenal, various regiments of the Virginia Militia stationed in Lexington, and some militia records that pre-date the establishment of the arsenal.

Lillard, John M., collection.   (MS 0413)
Material dating from Lillard's (Class of 1980) service as a U.S. Navy pilot stationed in the Persian Gulf area. Included are tactical pilotage and jet navigation charts that he used during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield in 1991.

Moss, James B., Jr. Diary. (MS 0452)   Online Access
World War II diary (1943-1944) of James B. Moss, Jr., VMI Class of 1946. Moss served with the 15th Field Artillery Observation Battalion at Anzio, Italy.

Nelson, John C., Papers (MS 0502)
Misc. Papers and photographs dating from his service with as First Lieutenant, 119th Infantry, 30th Division, A.E.F. He was in the Class of 1918.

Peay, J. H. Binford III, Interview (MS 0539)
Oral history interview transcript.  This interview was conducted in August 2009 by Dr. Lewis Sorley for the U. S. Army Military History Institute Senior Officers Oral History Program. GEN Peay had a distinguished U. S. Army career before his service as VMI's 14th Superintendent.  See also: additional interviews conducted by VMI cadets, which are available online. 

Pendleton, Randolph T. Papers (MS 0531) Online Access (selected)
photographs and documents relating to Gen. Pendleton's military service in World War I and World War II.

Perkinson, T. Randolph, Papers. (MS 0473)  Online Access (selected)
The bulk of the papers consists of miscellaneous items dating from Perkinson's the World War I service with the HQ, 30th Division.

Randolph, John H., Jr., Papers (MS 0441)
John H. Randolph, Jr., (VMI Class of 1942) served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, Pacific Theater. Includes military orders, misc. documents relating to bombing missions,and misc. other records.

Richards, Gates T., Papers.   (MS 0505)
The collection consists of slides, photographs, printed material, leaflets and propaganda material, and miscellaneous documents dating from Richards' (Class of 1961) service in a Psychological Operations unit during the Vietnam War, 1966-1967

Rockenbach, Samuel Dickerson, Papers. (MS 0001)  Online Exhibit
Military career papers (1889-1945)of army officer Samuel Dickerson Rockenbach (b. 1869 d. 1952), VMI Class of 1889. Rockenbach was notable for his role in the establishment of the U.S. Army Tank Corps during World War I and his postwar work in the development of tank warfare. Size: 2 linear feet.v

Ruffner, David L., papers  (MS 0338)
VMI Class of 1917; United States Army officer, 1917-1953, retiring with the rank of Major General. Misc. personal papers, 1940-1953, of General David L. Ruffner. The collection includes photographs, scrapbooks, and certificates. Medals and other artifacts are located in the VMI Museum.

Shepherd, Lemuel C., Jr. Papers. (MS 0006)  Online Access (selected)
Papers (1896-1990) of Marine Corps General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., VMI Class of 1917. Shepherd served in World Wars I, II, Korea, and as Marine Corps Commandant.

Smith, Robert N., Papers (MS 0501).
Misc. papers (ca. 10 items) dating from Smith's (Class of 1947) service with the 255th Infantry, Company M, 63rd Division in Germany, 1945.

Talbott, Samuel G., Papers. (MS 0101)
VMI Class of 1899; United States Army officer, 1902-1945.  Papers documenting Talbott's cadetship and part of his army career. Includes diary and miscellaneous items dating from his service with the 28th Infantry Regiment in the Philippines, 1901-1903.

Tobey, Nelson W., collection  (MS 0346)
One typescript publication (196 pp.), "History of the 7th Field Artillery battalion, WWII," by Nelson W. Tobey, VMI Class of 1939.

Tompkins, George J., Jr. Papers (MS 0467) Online Access 
Miscellaneous World War II papers documenting the army service of George J. Tompkins, Jr.   Included are Gen. Eisenhower's letter to the troops about to participate in the D-Day invasion, June 1944, and a similar item from President Roosevelt.  Tompkins is a member of the VMI Class of 1944.  See Also:  Tompkins Oral History Interview

Townes, John E., Collection (MS 0487) A portion of the papers includes photographs concerning Townes's service with the U S. Army Coast Artillery Corps, 1908-1920.

Upshur, William P., collection. (MS 0082)  Online Access 
VMI Class of 1902; Major General, United States Marine Corps; Commanding General, Department of the Pacific during World War II; died 1943 in plane crash near Sitka, Alaska.  The collection consists of two inspection trip scrapbooks, May 1942 and 1943 documenting General Upshur's visits to various Pacific islands.

Vivian, William R., Papers (MS 0494)
A portion of the papers includes information about the 698th Field Artillery Battalion during World War II.

Whittle, William M., Papers (MS 0098)
Military papers. Whittle (Class of 1917) served in World War I with the 314th Machine Gun Battalion and was sent to France in May 1918.

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