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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: ("Morale") remove term  Format: ("text") remove term

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Title:   Albert A. May to Friends

Creator:  May, Albert A.

Date:  1863-03-09

Resource type:   correspondence

Writing from White Oak Church, Bell Plains, Va. topics include being in good health, the warm spring weather, a year since the Army of the Potomac started their summer campaign, the army in good spirits, hoping that the 2nd Vt. will be lucky and be sent home, and the prediction that May only has fifteen months left in the service.

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    Title:   Benjamin F. Parmenter to Brother

    Creator:  Parmenter, Benjamin F., 1832-1896

    Date:  1861-07-28

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include Benjamin F. Parmenter's negative opinion of an attack ( the first battle of Bull Run--see letter 3).

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      Title:   Benjamin F. Parmenter to Brother

      Creator:  Parmenter, Benjamin F., 1832-1896

      Date:  1861-08-08

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include the regiment being located at Bush Hill Camp, rumors that they may join up with another brigade, more discussion of the 1st Battle of Bull Run, Parmenter's low opinions of the regiments officers,and his disappointment in the treatment of the soldiers.

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        Title:   Benjamin F. Parmenter to Brother

        Creator:  Parmenter, Benjamin F., 1832-1896

        Date:  1861-10-29

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include the policy of the war department to not allow anyone to go home regardless of their circumstances,enquiries about home, Parmenter's growing disillusion with the Army, and a discussion about "the Southern confederacy is a fixed fact."

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          Title:   Charles C. Canning to William Wirt Henry

          Creator:  Canning, Charles C., b. 1828

          Date:  1862-07-18

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include the movement of the regiment to Harrison's Landing, the extensive loss in the 5th Vermont Regiment (Battle of Savage's Station, June 29, 1862), the arrest of Captain Eaton, and a request for a few goods from home.

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            Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Clarissa Bancroft

            Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

            Date:  1862-01-06

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include the snowy weather and a brief description of George Blenkoe, the Confederate master of a "secesh (secessionist) negro," who had been recently brought into camp from Vienna, Va. Description of some Confederate money. Bancroft mentions his own modest weight gain, his need for pockets and other domestic items. One esp. moving line: "God only knows when we shall see each other again but let us hope for the best & that another year will bring us all to the family fireside again."

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              Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Clarissa Bancroft

              Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

              Date:  1862-01-15

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include drills, a prediction that the fighting will end by June, and inquiries about home. In addition to myriad details regarding weather, food, and correspondence, Bancroft inserts thoughtful questions, e.g.: "Clara do folks in our neighborhood manifest much interest in my being out here? do they seem to care a great deal about it?" He also refers to the lull in fighting--and resulting boredom-- that precedes Lincoln's general order of Jan. 27 for federal armies to advance.

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                Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Mary Bancroft

                Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                Date:  1862-02-16

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include Charles Bancroft's health, the food that is being cooked in camp, and the capture of Fort Donelson, Tenn. Bancroft wasn't involved in it, but the fall of Ft. Donelson reminds him that his tour of duty, if not the whole war, may be over by year's end. Bancroft sounds more confident as a soldier (enjoys picketing) and is certain he could serve another two years if asked.

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                  Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Parents

                  Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                  Date:  1861-12-20

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include items received from home and events surrounding a bottle of brandy that was stolen.

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                    Title:   Daniel S. White to Maria E. Howe

                    Creator:  White, Daniel S., 1837-1912

                    Date:  1863-05-11

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Letter includes a poetic description of nature, contrasting with itthe blight of slavery, and his hope for the end of the war. It also includes ruminations on death in the field versus a natural death at home. As well, he writes of love. He then gives details of the health of his Company, including the news that Sergeant Beckwith was bitten by a snake, and mentions several visitors.

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                      Title:   E. V. N. Hitchcock to John Wolcott Phelps

                      Creator:  Hitchcock, E. V. N.

                      Date:  1863-03-14

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Hitchcock learns that Phelps is nominated to be a Major General. Concludes letter with another carefully worded appeal to Phelps for a better position, preferably under Phelps's command. (Hitchcock underlines the word "inactivity.") Details in between include mail that has arrived, including a Brattleboro newspaper (title unknown); a new "conscript act" (Conscription Act: passed by the Union in late February and signed by Lincoln in March, 1863); preparations for summer and the anticipation of a large shipment of ice; officers busy with a Court Martial; and the continued good health of the regiment.

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                        Title:   Edward P. Stone to Family

                        Creator:  Stone, Edward P., 1830-1920

                        Date:  1862-11-15

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Writes how he and other chaplains are discouraged as their duties as ministers often can not be done as the men are often marching ; difficult to constantly hear profanity ; seeks prayers from folks at home, a caution at the end of the letter to not print this but perhaps convey his sentiments in other ways.

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                          Title:   Edward P. Stone to Family

                          Creator:  Stone, Edward P., 1830-1920

                          Date:  1862-12-23

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Stone's morale low ; discouragement of the soldiers after Fredericksburg ; Stone looking for a new chaplain’s position.

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                            Title:   Edward P. Stone to Family

                            Creator:  Stone, Edward P., 1830-1920

                            Date:  1863-03-19

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include visiting ministers, Colonel Tuttle resigning, Col. Barney in command, petition written up endorsing the Administration, Stone feeling better about his usefulness.

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                              Title:   George W. Quimby to Emeline B. Masta

                              Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

                              Date:  1862-03-22

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include the anticipation of marching to Alexandria in just over a week’s time, the resignation of Captain Tucker, and the promotion of George W. Quimby to captaincy. Mentions the slow moving Grand Army of the Potomac and the feeling that it may never see any fighting.

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                                Title:   George W. Quimby to Emeline B. Masta

                                Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

                                Date:  1862-01-20

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include the terrible weather at Camp Griffin, Va. and the numerous deaths from sicknesses such as Typhoid Fever. "Smith's Division" refers to the Vt. 5th Infantry Regiment under the command of Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith.

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                                  Title:   George W. Quimby to Emeline B. Masta

                                  Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

                                  Date:  1862-07-12

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include an account of a battle starting on the 27th of June (Battle of Gaines' Mill/First Cold Harbor/Chickahominy). Quimby mentions some explosions that surprisingly caused less harm than expected. Difficulties include long marches, usually at night; surprise attacks; and water deprivation.

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                                    Title:   George W. Quimby to Emeline B. Masta

                                    Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

                                    Date:  1862-09-13

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include the hardships of war, the unfairness between the men who are at home and those that are fighting, and the progress of George W. Quimby’s recuperation. Mentions a long march "on a certain Sunday" from Charles City C. H. (Court House) across the Chickahominy River.

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                                      Title:   George W. Quimby to Parents

                                      Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

                                      Date:  1862-11-14

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include rumors of an upcoming march and the suspension of General McClellan. (Major Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside would assume command of the Army of the Potomac.) Quimby still hoping to receive a warm coat from home.

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                                        Title:   Henry A. Smith to Clarissa A. Smith

                                        Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                                        Date:  1863-02-06

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        A short letter thanking his mother for the box she sent. Although generally satisfied with the food, he wishes the requested socks had arrived as well. He adds a brief correction: "We do not belong to Burnsides Army but belong to the defences of Washington." Weather in February has been bad, and March will probably be just as bad.

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                                          Title:   Henry A. Smith to Clarissa A. Smith

                                          Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                                          Date:  1863-05-17

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include the leafing out of fruit trees, another skirmish with Mosby’s raiders, and his skepticism about news of the war.

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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:   Henry Harrison Wilder to Mother

                                              Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

                                              Date:  1862-04-23

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include a request for Wilder's mother to send him stamps, Wilder's predictions that he may never return home, and a description of the battle at Yorktown. Poignant thoughts about friends and loved ones near and far away.

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                                                Title:   Henry L. Terry to John W. Campbell

                                                Creator:  Terry, Henry L., 1820-1885

                                                Date:  1861-10-21

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include encamping at Lee's Mill, twelve miles from Washington, close to the Rebels.

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                                                  Title:   Ira A. Marshall to William Wirt Henry

                                                  Creator:  Marshall, Ira A., d. 1893

                                                  Date:  1862-05-13

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include recent battles in Yorktown and Williamsburg, which had significant casualties; the destruction of the C.S.S. Merrimack off the coast of Norfolk, Va., now under Union occupation. McClellan will likely send Vt. troops home once Richmond is taken. Ill soldier Tilton Sleeper mentioned again.

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