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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: ("Military hospitals") remove term

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Title:   Benjamin F. Parmenter to Brother

Creator:  Parmenter, Benjamin F., 1832-1896

Date:  1861-10-12

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include Benjamin F. Parmenter's hospital stay and him enlisting his brother to take care of things at home.

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    Title:   Erastus Fairbanks to John Wolcott Phelps and [Daniel] Roberts to Erastus Fairbanks

    Creator:  Fairbanks, Erastus

    Date:  1861-06-04

    Resource type:   correspondence

    First letter is from Governor Erastus Fairbanks writing from St Johnsbury, Vt. Topic includes scandalous reports of officers in the 1st Regiment regarding the neglect of sick soldiers by the surgeon and assistant surgeon in military hospital. Second letter to the Gov. from Danl. Roberts writes of the sources of the reports and that the matter requires investigation.

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      Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

      Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

      Date:  1862-05-02

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include the arrival of the 7th and 8th Vermont Regiments at Ship Island, off the coast of Miss., and arrangements with the War Department for wounded troops to be sent home. Holbrook mentions the Battle of Yorktown (April 5-May 4, 1862), esp. the "affair" on April 16 that left ca. 100 Vermont soldiers wounded. Holbrook is in charge of the U.S. Marine Hospital in Burlington, Vt.

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        Title:   Henry A. Smith to Frances E. Smith

        Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

        Date:  1864-02-28

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Short note written to tell his sister that he has been moved to the hospital in Richmond and that he is sick with dysentery. Henry died the next day.

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          Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

          Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

          Date:  1863-08-20

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Rutherford writes of his low opinion of Southerns, of their ignorance, their misguided values of who can own the most slaves and land, their intermarrying, of his applying discipline to those he feels deserve it in order to preserve order in his hospital, praise for his horse, Lady Lightfoot, who is still with him and his acquisition of another horse and mule.

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            Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

            Date:  1863-11-17

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include having a difficult march in the rain, being in charge of the Ambulance train, pursuing shelter for the sick men, taking possession of the "Wallack Mansion" for the men & having made it into a General Hospital, having to destroy his Indian blankets along with other goods last June when leaving Harpers Ferry, Dr. Smith (asst surgeon) resigned due to his wife's insistence that he return home, a guess as to when the war might be over, the pleasure of having greens to dine on and the good health of the children.

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              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

              Date:  1863-06-21

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Two letters dated June 21st and 23rd with topics including a description of hearing an exchange of fire where the Union army was engaged in battle with the Confederates and the Union beating the Rebels, a visit to Campbell Hospital in Washington, D.C., meeting and chatting with Mrs. Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm (American journalist, publisher, abolitionist, women's rights advocate who during the war devoted her time to nursing the wounded and was called Mother by the men), his praise of her, and how to deal with Mr. Coburn at home who has not paid his debt.

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                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                Date:  1863-05-21

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Two letters dated May 21st and 22nd topics include the sickness of J.C. Rutherford's son Jacob, sharpers (slang) insulting his wife and children, $25 sent home, regiment preparations for a raid from the Rebels from across the river, Rutherford being praised for having the best brigade hospital by the inspector and Dr. Childe, and a description of an ambulance drill for medical attendants and nurses.

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                  Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                  Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                  Date:  1863-04-20

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Writing from a different camp, Heintzelman some 2 miles from Poolesville, topics include being put upon and over burdened with duties that put him in a bad mood that he had an unpleasant interaction with the Quartermaster, being put in charge of the Brigade Hospital, and recommended treatment for scarlet fever requested by his wife in case the children come down with the disease.

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                    Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                    Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                    Date:  1862-09-28

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Rutherford writes of the illness of the his assistant surgeon, Dr. Clarke, of his own excellent health, and all he is enjoying at camp including a hive of bees. He writes of fresh meat, fowl and fruit available to eat, of a companion dog and of his horse he admires so much. He speaks of the difference in military medical care of the soldiers and notes how the care results in more or fewer sick soldiers and of deaths.

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                      Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                      Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                      Date:  1862-10-19

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Rutherford writes to wife, Hannnah,about the regiment's movement to his camp at Seneca Creek in Maryland. Topics include what was involved in the moving of the troops at night, the baggage he carried on horseback, his pride for his mare, of feeling proud to serve his country in time of need, of him being put in charge of building of a hospital to be named after him and called the Rutherford Hospital.

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                        Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                        Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                        Date:  1862-11-15

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Rutherford writes of the regiment's movement to Camp Grove Offults Cup, Maryland. Also of his contempt for soldiers who want to shirk their military duties, of how well the truly sick soldiers are cared for in the hospital, and a slanderous report written about the Surgeon which Rutherford firmly denies, gives his side of the story including military discipline and an account of who a man named Murk who is responsible for the false report.

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                          Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                          Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                          Date:  1863-01-16

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include being in Baltimore, assisting with errands in the city for fellow officers, guarding the river for 20 miles, not receiving an appointment because some men provided bad accounts of Rutherford to the Governor, taking charge of hospital, references to Col. Jewett and Dr. Willard Augustus Childe (surgeon), inquiring after his children and his premonitions regarding their welfare.

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                            Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                            Date:  1863-02-03

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            From White's Ford, MD topics include Rutherford in charge of hospital while Dr. Willard Augustus Childe returns home to get married, sickness among the men less than in other regiments, a visit from the Inspector General with excellent reports on how he runs his department, expresses his anger and outrage at the complaining of people back home about having to pay taxes because of the war.

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                              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                              Date:  1863-05-13

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include the rainy weather, traveling to Washington to help at the Campbell Hospital, attending the many wounded, their fortitude in their suffering, their injuries and the mens' gratitude for medical attention, having Surgeon's duties but not necessarily the pay to go with it, the honor associated with any position in the army to make up the difference, and instructions to his wife to secure housing for herself and the children above all else.

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                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                Date:  1862-04-29

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Now in Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C. topics include military discharge, plans to meet Homer White in New York City and the wounding of Captain Atherton.

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                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Marianne Spafford

                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                  Date:  1862-03-29

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writing to his mother from the Mansion House Hospital topics include being left behind by the Regiment due to his illness, impossibility of getting a furlough, number of men from the 4th Vermont in the hospital, Ellsworth’s house, and possibility of being sent to another hospital.

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                                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                    Date:  1862-04-02

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Spafford continues to write from the Mansion House Hospital on topics that include worrying about his mother’s health, difficulty of getting a furlough, commenting on his preference to be a 2nd lieutenant and not a captain, detailed description of a day in the hospital, rules posted in the hospital, a dialogue he had with a drunken soldier from a California regiment, and description of a visit by a Vermonter from Windsor.

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                                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                      Date:  1862-04-27

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Writing from Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C. topics include the probability of a military discharge, hospital nurses, unhealthiness of hospitals, liking his living situation in the barracks, and fiddle playing and dancing heard coming from a nearby house.

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                                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                        Date:  1862-03-25

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Writing from the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria VA, topics include difficulty in getting a furlough at the present time, illness among others at the hospital from the Regiment, and the keeping and responsibility of using the Company's money for needed purchases for the men.

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  1862-03-15

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include being unable to march with the Regiment when orders came down to move out, of his dislike of how the hospital was run in Camp Griffin and him leaving that hospital, of living in tent with soldier who also had not moved out with the earlier call to march, being sent by ambulance to the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria, being diagnosed with pleurisy and a detailed description of hospital life and medical care at the Mansion.

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                                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                            Date:  1862-04-09

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Writing to his sister from the Mansion House Hospital topics include bad weather in Alexandria, Virginia, delayed arrival of letters from home, sewing on chevrons on his coat to help pass the time in his hospital room, and battle news of rebels defeated at Corinth and surrender of island no. 10.

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                                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                              Date:  1862-12-30

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include the whole brigade on picket duty on Bull Run, a catholic church having been emptied of its pews so as to used for a hospital, a brief encounter with Rebel soldiers, Spafford's anger with the Rebels being able to infiltrate the Union troops, the captured rebel prisoner stated aim was to take Sutler's supplies, acceptance of officers' resignations and the potential promotion of George Clark to Captain.

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                                                Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Parents

                                                Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                                Date:  1862-07-06

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include a retreat to the James River (known later as a "great skedaddle," a word that Williams uses here but in the context of not being paid), a fight at Savage's Station, a review by General McClellan, and the men killed and wounded in the fight.

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                                                  Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Sebra Towle

                                                  Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                                  Date:  1863-10-12

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Writes of receiving a welcomed letter from his mother making him feel as if he is at home with her in a conversation. Some of the men from the hospital are going out to gather chestnuts, he is not able to go as he is confined at the hospital due to wounds. States he suffers from diarrhea from time to time. Speaks of food available (meat, bread, milk, apples).

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