A Guide to the G. A. A. Riggs Papers, 1832-1895
G. A. A. Riggs was an itinerant piano tuner who lived first in Missouri and plied his trade down the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. In 1861 he moved to Natchez and enlisted in the Natchez Rifles of the Confederate Army. The unit campaigned in Virginia, however, the details of their actions are unfortunately missing.
At the end of 1862 he was sent home due to illness, but returned to Georgia the next year as a relief worker and continued to tune pianos on the side. His diaries are of unusual interest on account of the wide range of his interests and activities, as well as his pleasing literary style.
Two of his sons were also in the Confederate Army, and two of his brothers from Missouri joined the Union Army. His activities as a piano tuner gave him a large acquaintanceship and he records many interesting statements concerning the people with whom he came in contact. After the war he moved to Marshall, Texas, and the short diary written in 1895 shows that he was still very active in spite of his advanced age.
Letters, diaries, and memoranda books comprise the G.A.A. Riggs Papers, 1832-1895, and concern his career as a soldier and piano tuner. Riggs describes Mississippi and Louisiana during the Civil War years giving conditions of weather, crops, sanitation, and fighting, and his hopes for peace, faith in the Southern cause, and grief over the loss of life during the war. The papers also relate to his activities while an unofficial male nurse for Confederate wounded and to his activities as a piano tuner in Louisiana. Riggs also discusses a major train collision on August 19, 1861, his work in Lynchburg on August 26, 1861, and meeting President Jefferson Davis on January 1, 1862.
G. A. A. Riggs Papers, 1832-1895, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Papers