For years Lee Lawrence had seen references to a Civil War diary written by Middleburg resident Catherine Hopkins Broun. “Quotes from the diary were always insightful and revealing about this area’s war history. I decided it would be a fun project to edit and annotate Catherine’s diary for modern readers,” says Lee Lawrence. Catherine Broun lived with her family on Middleburg‘s main street, as well as on a farm they owned a few miles east of town. Edwin, Catherine’s husband, was Middleburg’s postmaster and the town’s most prominent merchant. The couple had three young children whose war experiences and antics supply warmth and humor to their mother’s diary.
But the aftermath of Virginia’s vote to join the Confederate states quickly fills the pages of Catherine’s journal, as war tightens its grip on Northern Virginia. Catherine visited battlefields, worked in area war hospitals, supplied soldiers, and even smuggled goods across the Potomac River from the United States into the Confederacy. She interacts with 43rd Battalion commander John Mosby, as well as countless Union officers. Her courage and wit never fail her, even in the midst of suffering. She writes her experiences in a modern, straight forward style. “That is part of the appeal of Catherine’s diary,” Lee Lawrence explains. We understand Catherine and can easily imagine being in her tumultuous world.”
Lee Lawrence is an avid researcher and member of the Friends of Thomas Balch Library Board of Directors. Books will be available for purchase.