The Valley of the Shadow

The Southern Claims Commission Papers

After the end of the war, the United States allowed Southerners who had remained loyal to the Union to petition to be reimbursed for losses they had sustained during the war while supporting the Union. From 1871 to 1879, 137 people from Augusta County, VA, submitted applications for reimbursement, most of which were denied. This section contains all the surviving petitions and files, in which people from Augusta argued over what had constituted loyalty during the Civil War.

  • Southern Claims Commission: Question Sheet Used in Depositions

    This list contains eighty "standing interrogatories" that the Special Commissioner asked of each claimant and witness. The questions encompassed general personal information and then sought to establish the claimant's loyalty to the United States during the war. There were specific questions for white male claimants of voting age and others designed specifically for African American claimants. The final eight questions on the list concerned the property listed in the claim.
  • Southern Claims Commission: Augusta County Allowed Claims

    The Claims Commission approved 36 of the claims filed from Augusta County between 1871 and 1879. These 36 claimants were able to prove both their loyalty to the United States and that their property had been taken for official Union army purposes. Twenty-four of Augusta County's 36 allowed claims are contained here (records for the other twelve are no longer in the National Archives). These claims are organized by the year in which the Commission approved the claim.
  • Southern Claims Commission: Augusta County Disallowed Claims

    The vast majority of claims pending before the Southern Claims Commission were disallowed, usually for insufficient evidence of loyalty to the United States or even clear acts of disloyalty. The Claims Commission disallowed 82 claims from Augusta County between 1871 and 1879. They are organized here either by the date the testimony was taken or, if that date was not available, the date the Commission initially ruled. Forty-two of these claimants later appealed their rulings to the Congressional Court of Claims, so some of the claim files contain testimony taken in the 1890s.
  • Search the Southern Claims Commission Papers

    This search engine allows full-text searching of all the claims, which can be restricted by date for more concise searches. The engine also allows for sorting the claims by keywords.
  • About the Southern Claims Commission Papers

    This section provides background about the Southern Claims Commission, its mission, and the petitions that 137 people in Augusta County made to the commission.

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