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John E. Roller Papers

Identifier: MS-0171

The John E. Roller Papers consist of personal incoming and outgoing correspondence, 1862-1870, including Civil War era letters from cadet friends concerning life at VMI; Civil War dispatches and telegrams (1864), dating from his service with the Confederate States Engineers, including one document signed by General Robert E. Lee; scrapbook, ca. 1910, containing clippings about Civil War battles, veterans, unit reunions, monument dedications, and related information.; 2 photographs, of Confederate soldier Lt. Col. Samuel T. Walker (10th Virginia Infantry Regiment) and of the Virginia Legislature Centennial Committee (1871); holograph text of a cadet literary-debating society speech delivered by Cadet Norwood B. Randolph in 1870; and misc. other items.


  • 1862-1910


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions


0.50 cubic feet (Approximately 40 items)

Biographical / Historical

John Edwin Roller was born in Rockingham Co., Virginia on October 5, 1844, the son of Peter Samuel Roller and Frances Allebach. In the summer of 1861, although underage for service, he briefly served with Company I of the First Virginia Cavalry. On December 31, 1861, he entered the Virginia Military Institute as a second classman (equivalent to Junior), and was graduated in July 1863. He subsequently taught mathematics at VMI for a few months, and then was appointed 2d Lieutenant, Company G, 2d Confederate States Engineers in October 1863. He served as an Engineer officer in the Army of Northern Virginia to the end of the war, and was paroled at Appomattox. After the war, he studied law at the University of Virginia and practiced law in Harrisonburg (Rockingham County), Virginia. He also served in the Virginia state legislature and was a Brig. General in the state militia; he was widely known in the Harrisonburg community as "General Roller." He died in Harrisonburg on August 10,1918.

Physical Location

Manuscripts Stacks

Online Access

A significant number of items in the Roller Papers are viewable online
A Guide to the John E. Roller Papers, 1862-1910
© 2002 Virginia Military Institute Archives
Language of description
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450