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Virginia’s city and county court records are not only the resources used to write and interpret history, but they have a history in and of themselves--if they survived. Unfortunately, because of records' legal and administrative importance, they are prime targets during a war; destroying these materials not only erases history, but can also cause a great amount of disruption, confusion, and anxiety among residents. This was the case in 1861, after Virginia seceded from the Union and its state capital also became the national capital of the Confederate States of America. As the courthouses were seen as the head or administrative symbol of authority for the locality, they were logical objectives for the invading army.The essay attempts to document and provide examples of how the courthouses and their court records fared during the war.



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