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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: ("Intrenchments") remove term

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Title:   Henry Harrison Wilder to Mother

Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

Date:  1862-04-09

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the rebels being strongly fortified at Lee's Mill, the preparations for a hard battle (the month-long siege of Yorktown), and Merrill's sickness. Detailed description of some dead and wounded soldiers.

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    Title:   Hiram H. Barton to Melissa Barton

    Creator:  Barton, Hiram H., 1836-1903

    Date:  1864-07-08

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Hiram Barton writes of an attack on the Union works by a Confederate Brigade at the Seige of Petersburg on June 24th. He also writes of the danger of raising one’s head above the breast works during the day, and of the soldiers killed. As well he writes of the heat and how exhausted the men are after spending two or three days in the trenchs.

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      Title:   Justus F. Gale to Mother

      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

      Date:  1863-07-01

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Gale writes that his company had been busy digging entrenchments in preparation for an assault on Port Hudson, and that rebels made a small raid to acquire some nearby guns but were repulsed. He also writes that deserters are coming in almost every day and report that rations are short in the fort. As well he writes that there is a rumor that the Rebels had invaded Brashear City and took or burned items left by the 8th Regiment, and the Colonel Thomas reacted strongly, saying “he wished he could get one clip at them with his brigade.”

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        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

        Date:  1862-04-18

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Writing after a battle near Yorktown, Towle recalls those wounded and killed. States preparations continue to be made for more fighting, that provisions for the men sometimes are difficult to get, that Col Stoughton performs admirably but that General Smith was drunk and has been arrested .

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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:  1861-05-27

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include the movement from Hampton to Newport News, Virginia, the beginning of the first entrenchment at Camp Butler, some details about camp dentistry, and the appointment of John Wolcott Phelps as Brigadier General. Mentions Vt. military units: Northfield Co., Bradford Guards, Vt. Regiment ; a Virginia unit: Old Dominion Dragoons (ODD) ; ships: Catalina, Monticello ; and a newspaper (Vt.?): "the Telegraph."

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              Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

              Date:  1861-06-27

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include an account of the sick, the return of Parker of the Woodstock Company from enemy prison, and asking Mrs. Farnham to save newspapers.

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                Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                Date:  1862-08-09

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include the progress made on the fort, the cutting down of many trees within a mile of the fort, of orchards and shade trees also cut down nearby buildings to the great dismay of local residents, an outbreak of dysentery, and the hope to be able to send some military pay home soon.

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                  Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                  Date:  1862-08-15

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include moving to a camp near the east corner of the fort, a description of the fort including how many guns and what types of guns, and the appointment of Eaton as the major of the 10th regiment.

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                    Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                    Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                    Date:  1861-08-09

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the measures taken by the camp to secure their safety.

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                      Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                      Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                      Date:  1861-10-20

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include the toll the war is taking on the wives, mothers, and sisters of soldiers, the lack of awareness by Northerners, and a discussion of Gen. McClellan.

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                        Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                        Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                        Date:  1862-05-09

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include working with the naval forces to occupy Fort Pike, La. which fell April 27, 1862. Holbrook describes the fort, the artillery left behind, and the process for allowing vessels to pass by this strategic entrance to Lake Pontchartrain, at New Orleans.

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                          Title:   William Wirt Henry to Gov. J. Gregory Smith

                          Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                          Date:  1864-05-20

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Strongly worded letter written to Governor Smith protesting his censuring of Henry for lack of discipline in the 10th Vermont, due to the complaints of Major Chandler over the promotion of Captain Frost. Henry writes that he believes the 10th Vermont is very disciplined and that the Governor’s action in not sending commissions has harmed that discipline. He also states that the 10th Vermont has been under fire continuously and has done it’s duty well. Reference to Col. Jewett, Capt Dillingham Henry writes this letter while lying in a rifle pit, 1,000 yards from the Confederate forces.

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                            Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                            Date:  1863-08-09

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Letter discusses being paid, Paymaster, sending more money home as well as the desire to have all monies he has sent to his wife accounted for, mentions his "boy" Johnny (assistant/attendant). The prospect of buying sheep, health of family members, "fifth corps" entrenched across the river, General Morris, may hear of the fall of Charleston soon, some men suffering from diarrhea, the potential movement of the Army of the Potomac.

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                              Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                              Date:  1864-05-20

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Henry writes that the line has advanced its position two miles south of Spotsylvania and the regiment has dug in, waiting for a Confederate attack or for the rebels to run out of food. He feels that the Army will try and flank the Confederate position, and mentions that General Jubal Early tried to raid Union wagons near Fredericksburg but was repulsed. Henry describes laying in the rifle pit, writing this letter while shots are going over his head, and mentions that he was shot at the night before, “but the fellow must have been a very poor shot...”

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