Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Charles Dimmock (1800-1863), the subject of this biography, played "many parts" in his lifetime; Soldier, Educator, Hero, Businessman, Engineer, Promoter, Family man and Civil Servant. A northerner by birth, Dimmock adopted the state of Virginia as his mistress and place of residence and he devoted the last twenty years of his life to the state's military and civil development.

With Richmond, Virginia, in the 1840's and 50's, as his stage, Dimmock, who was certainly the hero of his own biography, worked with an astonishing variety of supporting players, ranging from the top civil and military leaders in America to the lowliest private in Richmond's Public Guard.

It is the purpose of this brief sketch of his life to reveal the delicate interplay of personalities and events leading up to Virginia's participation in the Civil war, with Dimmock acting the role of catalyst in some and of active participant in others.