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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:   Hiram H. Barton to Melissa Barton

      Creator:  Barton, Hiram H., 1836-1903

      Date:  1863-06-23

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writing from Camp Gray in Plymouth, North Carolina Barton speaks of white and black North Carolinians coming in to Union lines to join the Union Army, of the brogue they speak, of the sights he has seen in battle, his dislike of army life, particularly the killing. Writes of rumors about Vicksburg and what it would mean for the Union cause if it is taken.

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        Title:   John Lester Barstow to ?

        Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

        Date:  1862-05-18

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Comfortable lodgings of the regiment in New Orleans, the cost of food items, and the ruined state of New Orleans when the Vermont Regiment arrived, interaction with the Negroes.

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          Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

          Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

          Date:  1862-11-23

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Written in the field he writes of idleness of the Regiment since its arrival on the banks of the Bayon and the help the Negroes are receiving from the government, the lack of coffee, poor quality flour, no salt, spoiled meat causing disease, exorbitant prices for food.

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            Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

            Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

            Date:  1864-01-10

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Detailed description of horrid wet, cold & muddy camp conditions in Louisiana, damage to military equipment, loss of horses & mules from marching in deep mud, African American man servants (aids) risking life and limb to cross river to aid soldiers crossing, pillaging of Southern sympathizer's property and livestock for use by the Union soldiers, papers accusing Gen. William B. Franklin of being a coward and half-traitor, crossing the Potomac to resupply.

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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:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                    Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                    Date:  1863-01-25

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the sore on his hand and how it is healing, the summer-like weather and how the birds in Louisiana are different from the birds in Vermont, their campsite in Thibodeaux, Louisiana, and how much he dislikes southern cooking, which he calls “niger stoge” but has fresh fruit to eat. He also writes about how much money he has made in speculation and of sending home a ring made from a beef bone by their drummer Walter Barnes.

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                      Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                      Date:  1863-07-19

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Gale writes that he developed a lameness while at Port Hudson and was sent to convalescent camp. While in camp, Gale and a partner took advantage of a business opportunity to bring rations to contrabands. He mentions going to Baton Rouge to draw the rations and says he now has a pony to ride to make this and other things easier. He also writes that he has not been paid for a long time, and that he has heard General Lee has been captured but that this is not confirmed.

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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:  1861-06-19

                                  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:  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:  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:  1863-07-27

                                                  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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