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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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Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

Date:  1862-06-07

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the defeat and retreat of the regiment to Williamsport (Battle of Harrisonburg?? June 6), telling of southern woman firing upon union soldiers, of the shooting death of a drummer boy by a southern woman, description of a rebel regiment's clothing recognized as the Louisiana Tigers, transporting the sick and wounded by wagon to hospitals, a summary of the men who were lost or wounded.

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    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Marianne Spafford

    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

    Date:  1862-11-24

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Writing from Camp Vermont, topics include a copy of Joseph Spafford’s accounts of camp life from November 10th until November 24th written on stationery with a beautiful color illustration of Richmond, Virginia. Mentions the orphan boys wanting to go along with the soldiers have run away.

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      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

      Date:  1862-11-09

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writing from Camp Seward near Alexandria, Virginia, topics include a copy of Joseph Spafford’s accounts of camp life from October 24th until November 9th, 1862 with a note that he burns the letters he receives. Writes about tents, gunfire heard from a battle a distance away, on leave to visit Washington, D.C., liking his boy Daniel McAuliffe age 13 and wanting to take him with him to Vermont when the 9 months are up.

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        Title:   Justin Carter to William Wirt Henry

        Creator:  Carter, Justin, d. 1871

        Date:  1863-01-19

        Resource type:   correspondence

        List of amounts given by non-commissioned officers of Company B for a sabre for Lieutenant Colonel William Wirt Henry of the 10th Vermont Infantry Regiment including Foster, the drummer boy.

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          Title:   Justus F. Gale to Father

          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

          Date:  1862-06-14

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include the living conditions and food in New Orleans, continues with cooking duty, the good weather, soldiers bringing back to camp chickens, eggs, an account of the poor treatment of slaves, two slave boys being rescued from ill treatment from their masters, and the observance of Sabbath in camp, wishing to know more news of the war than he can get in the South.

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            Title:  

            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:  1863-08-23

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Laments of trying to write the letter with other officers having a conversation around him, of the heat which curtails his exercise, and of having a photograph taken of his dark bay horse, Frank, and his contraband boy, both of whom he hopes to take back to Swanton as well as a little white dog for his children Carrie and Fred. He also writes of “Jewettville,” the negro contraband village, named after Lt. Jewett also known as Slabtown.

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