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Cornelia Peake McDonald
(June 14, 1822 – January 11, 1909) was an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
diarist who was the author of A Diary with Reminiscences of the War and Refugee Life in the Shenandoah Valley, 1860-1865
in which she recaps her life as a woman living in Winchester, Virginia
Winchester is an independent city located in the northwestern portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the USA. The city's population was 26,203 according to the 2010 Census...
. Her writing is significant as it recaps the views of the American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...
from the point of a view of a woman living in one of the most counter occupied towns of the conflict. She became known as one of the "Devil Diarists of Winchester."
Peake was born in 1822 in Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...
. She was the youngest of six children of Dr. Humphrey Peake and Annie Linton Lane. She married Angus William McDonald in 1847 in Hannibal, Missouri
Hannibal is a city in Marion and Ralls counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. Hannibal is located at the intersection of Interstate 72 and U.S. Routes 24, 36 and 61, approximately northwest of St. Louis. According to the 2010 U.S. Census the population was 17,606...
. The couple would have nine children.
During the Civil War, her husband was away from Winchester serving as the colonel
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...
of the 7th Virginia Infantry
The 7th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment raised in Virginia for service in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...
, leaving Cornelia to stay home with the children. (He would die in December 1864, leaving her a widow.) She kept a detailed diary during the Civil War, which was published in 1875, with a second edition in 1934. It was reprinted in 2003.
She was buried beside her husband in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...