William C. Holbrook Correspondence
The son of Vermont Governor Frederick Holbrook, William C. Holbrook left his job as a clerk in Boston at the outbreak of the war to help raise a regiment of infantry. He was commissioned first lieutenant in Company F, 4th Vermont Infantry, but...
Show moreThe son of Vermont Governor Frederick Holbrook, William C. Holbrook left his job as a clerk in Boston at the outbreak of the war to help raise a regiment of infantry. He was commissioned first lieutenant in Company F, 4th Vermont Infantry, but left the regiment for a promotion to Major in the 7th Vermont Infantry in January, 1862. Holbrook was commissioned colonel of the 7th after the death of Col. George T. Roberts in August 1862. He resigned from the 7th in June, 1865. After the war’s end, he studied law at Hrvard, graduating in 1869, and became a lawyer in New York City. He won an appointment as judge of the Court of Special Session in 1895. Holbrook's letters follow the 7th from Vermont to the Gulf Department, where the regiment served under General Benjamin Butler. Most of the letters were written to Gov. Holbrook during the summer of 1862, and contain recommendations for promotions and comments on the conduct of the war. The major topic is General Butler's condemnation of the 7th after the battle of Baton Rouge on August 5, 1862. Holbrook demanded and received a court of inquiry on the affair, and the regiment was largely exonerated, though it remained under a cloud of censure ever after. Included is a letter from Governor J. Gregory Smith (who succeeded Governor Holbrook) concerning a proposal to brigade the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Vermont regiments. Also, two letters from Lieutenant Colonel Volney Fullam concerning replacements for officers killed or incapacitated, and a letter from former Brigadier General John W. Phelps (Oct. 3, 1862) on the necessity of war to resolve the slavery issue.