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Thomas H. Williamson papers

Identifier: MS-0105
This collection consists of Thomas H. Williamson's papers including:
  • Civil War memoirs, in which Williamson discusses the events that took place during his temporary assignment to the command of Major General Stonewall Jackson beginning in April 1862
  • Lecture notes (1850s) used in teaching engineering and architecture courses at VMI
  • Two copies of the textbook written by Williamson for use at VMI titled "An Elementary Course of Architecture and Civil Engineering"
  • Williamson family genealogical material
  • Correspondence


  • 1788-1888


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Collections in the VMI Archives are made available for educational and research use. The VMI Archives should be cited as the source. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright and for adhering to publication requirements. Materials from our collections may not be redistributed, published or reproduced without permission. Contact the VMI Archives for additional information.


0.50 cubic feet

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Hoomes Williamson was born on August 30, 1813 in Richmond, Virginia to Thomas and Anne Walke Williamson. He spent most of his childhood in Norfolk, Virginia, where he received his early schooling. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1829, but resigned in 1833 before receiving his degree.

In 1834 Williamson entered the profession of civil engineering and was the assistant to the United States Engineer in charge of building the dry dock in the Norfolk Navy Yard.

Williamson married Louisa Henrietta Fenton Garnett on May 11, 1837 and the couple had five children, including: Mercer, William, Anne, Thomas, and Olympia.

In 1841 Williamson accepted a faculty appointment at VMI where spent the remainder of his career except for a brief absences during the Civil War. He taught tactics, drawing, and engineering, and at various times was assigned additional duties (e.g., Commandant of Cadets, Treasurer, and Librarian). While at VMI he wrote a text book titled "An Elementary Course of Architecture and Civil Engineering."

Williamson took on various special assignments during the Civil War. In April 1861 he served with the Confederate Engineers Corps and worked on the defenses of the Rappahannock River and Manassas, Virginia. In October of that year, he was ordered to return to VMI to teach civil and military engineering, but he was recalled to the Confederate Army in April 1862 for temporary special duty on the staff of General Stonewall Jackson.

In 1864, Williamson married for the second time to Julia Wharton (Lewis) and the couple had two children including Sydney Bacon and Cornelia.

Williamson continued his teaching career at VMI until shortly before his death on March 31, 1888. He is buried in the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery in Lexington.

Physical Location

Manuscripts Stacks; and Oversized case 2
A Guide to the Thomas H. Williamson Papers, 1788, 1850-1888

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Military Institute Archives Repository

VMI Archives
Preston Library
Lexington VA 24450