By Ed McMinn
News Messenger Editor
RADFORD – Glencoe Mansion, Museum, and Gallery will launch a Civil-War era book, “The Whartons’ War” on Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. in the Radford City Council chambers at 10 Robertson St.
The book is nearly 160 years in the making and illuminates life during the Civil War in Southwest Virginia. Recently released by the University of North Carolina Press, “The Whartons’ War” features extensive wartime correspondence between Confederate newlyweds Brigadier General Gabriel C. Wharton and Anne Radford Wharton.
Co-edited by William C. Davis, a former professor of history at Virginia Tech and the author or
editor of 50 books on Civil War and Southern history, and Sue Heth Bell, the Whartons’ great-
great granddaughter, “The Whartons’ War” is one of the fullest known sets of correspondence
by a high-level officer and his wife from the time of their courtship to the end of the war when
Gabriel C. Wharton swore loyalty to the United States and accepted parole before returning to
his home in Radford.
Separated by 20 years in age and differing opinions on many subjects, these two well-educated
and articulate Virginians frankly discussed their thoughts on generals and politicians, the course
of the war, the fate of the Confederacy, life at home, and their wavering loyalties. They also
explored the shifting gender roles brought on by the war, changing relations between slave
owners and enslaved people and much more.
The new home they eventually built in Radford just above the New River is today the Glencoe
Mansion, Museum & Gallery.
At the book launch, the authors will provide insight into the couple’s correspondence and how the book developed during a multi-year process. A book signing will follow, and copies will be available to purchase.
Glencoe’s executive director Scott Gardner, who gets to share the story of the Whartons daily,
said, “We’re excited to kick off the promotion of this book.” According to Gardner, “General
Wharton graduated from Virginia Military Institute and began his career as an engineer.
When war broke out in 1861, he enlisted and was deployed to Southwest Virginia where he met
an independent-minded, feisty young woman who would change his life forever. In turn,
General Wharton forever transformed Southwest Virginia’s development.
“One of my favorite aspects of history,” Gardner said, “is pulling information out from the
shadows. This information helps illustrate how life really was and challenges our conventional
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