Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Kenzer

Second Advisor

Dr. John L. Gordon, Jr.

Third Advisor

Dr. John D. Treadway


Despite the abundant material available on the Civil War, little research has been dedicated to the court system of Virginia as it operated during the conflict. This thesis delves into this unchartered [sic] area by sorting out the cases heard by the Virginia Supreme Court from 1861 to 1865 and analyzing connections between the cases and the war. The results offer insight into the social and political circumstances of Virginia. The Confederate States of America, lacking a Supreme Court, relied on each state to sustain a high court of appeals. Three cases directly related to the war reached the court during the conflict, all pertaining to conscription. In the aftermath of the fighting, war-related cases, primarily related to Confederate currency, inundated the court. The analysis of all of these cases leads to the conclusion that a level of continuity is sustained in the antebellum, war and postwar cases, showing that the court maintained its ultimate mission as a high court of appeals whether the war was going on or not.

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