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Vermonters in the Civil War

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Collection Overview

Vermont soldiers in the Civil War wrote an enormous quantity of letters and diaries, of which many thousands have survived in libraries, historical societies, and in private hands. This collection represents a selection of letters and diaries from the University of Vermont and the Vermont Historical Society.

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Time Period Covered: January 1, 1861 - February 28, 1864 


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Browsing by:    Topic: ("African Americans") remove term

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Title:   Benjamin F. Butler to John Wolcott Phelps

Creator:  Butler, Benjamin F.

Date:  1861-07-16

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the summoning of Roys Nicholas Colbert and Charles Stepheny to Command General Benjamin F. Butler.

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    Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

    Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

    Date:  1861-12-29

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include the journey from Washington to Anapolis, Maryland and an account of a runaway slave.

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      Title:   John Lester Barstow to ?

      Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

      Date:  1862-05-18

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include the comfortable lodgings of the regiment in New Orleans, the cost of food items, and the state of New Orleans when the Vermont Regiment arrived.

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        Title:   John Lester Barstow to Father

        Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

        Date:  1862-12-28

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include the fleeing of Rebels to Texas, the destruction and loss of property near New Orleans, and Barstow’s belief that the war must not end until the Union is restored.

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          Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

          Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

          Date:  1862-11-23

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include the idleness of the Regiment since its arrival on the banks of the Bayon and the help the Negroes are receiving from the government.

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            Title:   John Wolcott Phelps to Frederick Holbrook

            Creator:  Phelps, John Wolcott

            Date:  1862-10-03

            Resource type:   correspondence

            John W. Phelps writes to Gov. Holbrook with topics including the perceived mistake of the President Abraham Lincoln in regards to the bargain the President is making with the slave states and moral issues associated with the decision.

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              Title:   Joseph Legar to John Wolcott Phelps

              Creator:  Legar, Joseph

              Date:  1861-06-27

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include trying to save Isaac Jones' property.

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                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                Date:  1863-08-16

                Resource type:   correspondence

                From White Sulphur Spring, VA topics include continued conflict with military authorities, medical department, Dr. Childe returning to duty relieving him of a lot of work, pursuing ways to relieve the shortage of medicines, photos of his children, blacks scavenging salt, philosophical reflections and opinions of the country being laid waste, people's lives suffering as a result of the Civil War.

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                  Title:   Miscellaneous

                  Creator:  Phelps, John Wolcott

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Permission for "the Negro Dawson Speedley" to leave camp. Signed by Col. Phelps.

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                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                    Date:  1861-06-29

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include two Louisiana Zouaves who were brought in by Col. Hawkins, accounts of their desertion and capture, rumors of an advancing Confederate force, and the anticipation of an enemy attack that never occurs. .

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                      Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                      Date:  1861-05-25

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include the rebels burning Hampton Bridge, the funeral of Benjamin Underwood, the food the Massachusetts Regiment is receiving from home, and false alarms of rebels. Hampton population, whites and blacks. Fortress Monroe now has close to 4,000 soldiers encamped; news that Vt. Regiment is about to be shipped out, destination unknown. Names mentioned: Gen. Butler, Col. Washburn, Maj. Worthen, Lt. Pickett, Col. Phelps, Capt. Clark, Andross, Judge Underwood, John Prichard, Mr. May, Mr. Batchelder, Ed. Wilcox, John Richards, Dr. Hartley, Daniel Johnson.

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                        Title:   Roswell Farnham to [C. H.] Harding

                        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                        Date:  1861-06-03

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Camp Butler, Newport['s] News: Farnham assesses regiment and its destiny: "We are better situated." Action at Hampton resulted in many freed slaves. Provost marshall duties involving confiscated property and "loose" slaves. Press coverage is exaggerated; Farnham's pride in the Green Mtn. Boys; politics among regiment officers. Apology for any offensive remarks. Heavy rain for several days; more slaves arriving. Steamer Harriet Lane fires on rebel battery at Pig Point; also commandeers ship with livestock and other foodstuffs--cheers from the troops. Mentions "Hawkins Zouaves" and "the Germans." Names: Officers Butler, Phelps, Packard, Peckett; soldiers Stebbins, Geo. Flanders, McFarland.

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                          Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                          Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                          Date:  1861-06-09

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include the duties of Provost Marshall, including the reception of runaway slaves. Mentions alerts for battle and false alarms; and illness within the regiment.

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                            Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                            Date:  1861-07-04

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include further description of the 4th of July.

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                              Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                              Date:  1861-07-05

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include an encounter between the Zouaves and Rebels, flap-jacks and doughnuts in camp, an African-American prisoner by the name of Joe Wilson, the probability of not engaging in a fight, and the bugs and mosquitoes at camp.

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                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                Date:  1861-07-26

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                July 26, 1861. Writes from Camp Butler in Newport News, Va. of contraband (seven children), of sending 12 Negroes (7 of them children) to the Fort, of a fight and march to Yorktown and the health of his wife Mary.

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                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                  Date:  1861-06-19

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include his concern about anxiety at home after the Battle of Big Bethel; Farnham's desire to save his letters; domestic financial affairs; names of men in the hospital, and one death (Ph. Lougee); Maj. Worthen has a servant, a young black boy named Pompey Wind.

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                                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                    Date:  1862-11-09

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Farnham writes from nearby Hunting Creek, Virginia at the headquarters of the 12th Vermont Volunteers about the cold weather in the South, eleven sick in the hospital, two of which had shot themselves. Reference made to Gen. McClellan being superseded by Gen. Burnside.

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                                      Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                                      Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                                      Date:  [1861]-09-25

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include a skirmish in which a Rebel officer was taken prisoner and Wheelock G. Veazey’s black servant that he hired to work for him.

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                                        Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                                        Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                                        Date:  [1861]-12-[23]

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include Captain Atherton recruiting for the 4th Vermont Regiment and General Phelps making a “fool” out of himself.

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                                          Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                          Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                          Date:  1862-07-29

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include returning to Baton Rouge and the comforts that came with this move, expresses his decided opinion on the ramifications of releasing “unlettered Negroes” (i.e. slaves), feels the blacks are well enough cared for in general, speaks against blacks as a possible fighting force, the treatment of the slaves who enter Union lines by the Union soldiers, feels politicians need to experience first hand the habits of black slaves of the south and not hold such lofty ideals, the attempted “cut off” of the Mississippi River by the Union, and the death of W. C. Holbrook’s grandfather.

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                                            Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                            Date:  1863-12-21

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Barney writes that he is not in his house (winter quarters) yet, but hopes to be shortly, as the weather is getting colder. He also writes that he has a new “Darkey” servant named John Franklin, as the last man had a wife in Yorktown and didn’t want to stay at Newport Barracks. Wants a pair of boots made by D. Heher and asks if the $200 sent to Maria is received.

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                                              Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                              Date:  1863-05-09

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include leveling Rebel fortifications after a retreat by the Confederate Army, rumors about General Hooker’s movements, praise for Vermont troops in the New York newspapers, worry about the safety of his brother, Colonel Elisha Barney, and the results of foraging by his company. He also writes of hiring a “darkey” to help carry his luggage while on march, meeting a cousin in the 118th New York Regiment, and sending money home.

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                                                Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                Date:  1863-08-21

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include sitting on the examining board, officers resigning in fear of the board, and a description of a picture drawn by a 16 year old boy from Company C of Barney's quarters, including the Negro contraband boy who is taking care of his horse. As well, he includes a photograph of his good friend Dr. Carpenter. He also describes the kind of food they eat in their mess.

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                                                  Title:  

                                                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                  Date:  1863-07-27

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  A description of the regiment's difficult expedition to commandeer & capture guerrilla fighters, horses & weapons. Negroes pressed into service as guides. Mentions can't get horses so must confiscate them. Women cried when horses taken. Took a trip to a local ten acre peach orchard, eating many & taking some to camp. Requests white handkerchiefs.

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