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Short biography
Cornelia Peake McDonald was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the youngest of six children of Dr. Humphrey Peake and his wife Annie Linton Lane. In 1847, she married Angus McDonald, with whom she had nine children.
During the Civil War, her husband served as the colonel of the 7th Virginia Cavalry in the Confederate Army, leaving Cornelia to provide for herself and the children in Winchester, northwestern Virginia, which was constantly being occupied. She kept a detailed diary, first published in 1875 as A Diary with Reminiscences of the War and Refugee Life in the Shenandoah Valley, 1860-1865, that provides vivid details and important insight into the role of women during the Civil War period.
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