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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: ("Photographs") remove term

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Title:   Bradford Sparrow to Parents and Brothers

Creator:  Sparrow, Bradford

Date:  1864-02-12

Resource type:   correspondence

Writes his health is good, there was a battle on the Rapidan on the 5th, orders given to move out, he on picket duty to remain, could hear the muskets firing, reads in the newspaper Rebels panic stricken in Richmond by Butler's approach, hears talk of moving Confederate capital to Columbia, South Carolina, paymaster in camp, will send money home, has played cards on picket duty to pass the time, thinks folks at home have gotten his picture (photo), expresses appreciation for berries sent.

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    Title:   Bradford Sparrow to Parents and Brothers

    Creator:  Sparrow, Bradford

    Date:  1864-04-16

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Writes of having sent money home, of improved health, of not having a chance to get a photograph made, of two deserters from his company in the guard house, and gives advice as to whom to write in case he is unable to do so, Chaplain Roberts, 4th Vt Regt., Washington, D.C.

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      Title:   Daniel S. White to Maria E. Howe

      Creator:  White, Daniel S., 1837-1912

      Date:  1863-09-22

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Short letter mentioning photographs, pay, and his health.

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        Title:   Daniel S. White to Maria Howe White

        Creator:  White, Daniel S., 1837-1912

        Date:  1864-05

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include a photograph of Maria with a new hair style and a joking encounter with another officer about the photograph. He also writes of memories of his youth and how he would never have believed there would be a civil war and that he would participate in one.

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          Title:   Henry A. Smith to Clarissa A. Smith

          Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

          Date:  1863-03-16

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include resuming encampment after living indoors for a while. An early March skirmish in Aldie, Va. is mentioned, as is the capture of General E.H. Stoughton in bed, in a daring raid by CSA Capt. John S. Mosby at Fairfax County Court House. Mosby managed to capture dozens of union soldiers, learn the "Countersign," or password, and go wherever he wanted. (The embarrassment ended Stoughton's military career.) Smith mentions his wish for a photograph of his siblings, and his wish for news from home.

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            Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

            Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

            Date:  1863-03-26

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include Barstow's sickness, of him sent to New Orleans for rest but ordered back to his regiment as Heitzel's Brigade was to retreat, a very hard rain that flooded the camp, Admiral David Farragut at the siege of Port Hudson (on March 14), the retreat of General Banks and his army to Baton Rouge, his feelings other southern cities will soon fall and he will be going home, burning of the steamer, BioBio and perhaps the burning and loss of the mail with it and requests for photographs.

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              Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

              Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

              Date:  1864-01-21

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Receipt of ambrotype (photograph) of his son, Freddie, sending photos of himself home, request for photograph of Laura & Freddie, sending money, anticipation for the war's end.

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                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                Date:  1864-08-23

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include word of the death of their son (Joseph?), Rutherford’s deep sadness, mentions a photograph of his now deceased son, of him sending the photo home and that he is in the hospital recovering from dysentery.

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                  Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                  Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                  Date:  1864-10-02

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Rutherford recounts events of battle (the 10th was involved battles at Winchester and Fisher's Hill, Va. in September), destruction in the Shenandoah Valley by Union forces so as to deny resources to the Confederacy, the calmness of the troops despite their readiness to be called to action, of soon to be paid but not trusting the mail enough to send any money home, of financial issues at home, of sending home a photo of their son, Joseph, for safe keeping.

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                    Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                    Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                    Date:  1863-01-25

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Writing from White's Ford, Maryland two letters of Jan 23 (or 25?) and 27 topics include photographs, military pay, of ambulance drill to teach hospital attendants medical practices, warm weather, men singing, being made the Surgeon if Dr. Willard Augustus Childe is promoted, moving to Poolesville, Maryland, Col. A. B. Jewett in command of the Brigade, the disgrace of two officers by getting drunk, the potential for a man from his Vermont county to receive a dishonorable discharge and of him being in good health.

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                      Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                      Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                      Date:  1863-05-31

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include the improved health of J.C. Rutherford's son, wishing for photographs of the new house and of his wife, the visit from a mounted band from Washington played for the brigade, compliments paid to Rutherford and other officers, a soldier who ran the line and did not halt when ordered by the pickets was shot through the leg by friendly fire.

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                        Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                        Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                        Date:  1863-07-04

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        A brief letter from Frederick Junction, Maryland stating he has received a picture of his wife, that he and the troops are preparing to march, and he has been assigned to be the acting surgeon of the Regiment and Medical Director of the Brigade.

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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:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                            Date:  1863-10-01

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include reflections, his 45th birthday today, a reference to their first born son & if he was living how he would have liked to have the son with him, looking at photographs of his wife & of opening a letter with a lock of hair in it, Col. Jewett having talked with Gov. Holbrook about Rutherford & him being worthy of a promotion, and his marked opinion of not wanting a woman as a camp follower as a laundress or as a seamstress as Mrs. Fields is wishing to go with the army.

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                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                              Date:  1863-04-19

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include remaining at Union Mills, the appointment as Colonel Stannard as the new Brigadier and General Abercrombie as the new Division General, wishing for regular military pay schedule, discord in the ranks with opposing opinions by soldiers with 3 year enlistment against those with only 9 months enlistment and the marriage of George and Augusta Dodge.

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                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                Date:  1863-05-30

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include trying to figure out where a family acquaintance (Nels Craigue) is by asking a sutler, the rebels firing on and burning of a train just beyond Kettle Run Bridge and photographs of sister.

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                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                  Date:  1863-06-21

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writing from Union Mills, Va. makes reference to cannon firing around Thoroughfare Gap otherwise quiet in the area, comfortable weather, the location of the 1st Brigade and the 12th and 15th Regiments, to photographs of him wanted by others, enclosing the pieces of the flag he mentioned in an earlier letter, George is well and Captain Mason going on picket.

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                                    Title:   Justus F. Gale to Brother

                                    Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                    Date:  1863-01-04

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include a sore on his hand, getting photographs of the family made, his opinion of Captain Luman M. Grout and mention of Grout’s appreciation of Southern ladies, and rumors that Vicksburg has been taken.

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                                      Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                      Date:  1863-03-01

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include his appreciation for receiving a box from his family, letters he has received from friends, information on his speculation in watches and apples, and his decision not to receive a photograph of his brother, Charlie, who died on August 30, 1862, since Charlie still seems alive to Justus.

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                                        Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                        Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                        Date:  1863-05-01

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Gale writes a long description of his company’s role in the Battle of Fort Bisland on April 12th and 13th, and is pleased by General Banks’ praise of the performance of the 8th Vermont Regiment. He also writes of his pleasure at receiving a photograph of Emily Taft of Barre, and his wish that he could have photographs of all his family, though he would be unable to carry them all in his wallet. As well, he writes of picking up Confederate money from a house that was abandoned before the advance of the “damd yankees” and of seeing rich clothing that he wished he could send home.

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                                          Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                          Date:  1863-08-02

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Gale writes about having a relapse of fever after working two weeks supplying the contrabands, and being sent to a hospital in Baton Rouge. He also writes with news of his fellow soldier, Wesley (John Wesley Merriam) who is with him at the hospital. As well, he reports eating custard for dinner.

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                                            Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                            Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                            Date:  1864-04-13

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include letters he has received and news from his brother, Nathan, who is in Chicago serving in the Veteran Reserve Corps, a short list of what he has been doing, including attending a lyceum, news that Captain William B. Reynolds has been promoted to Major in the 17th Vermont Infantry Regiment, drilling practice, out of postage stamps and sends another one dollar to have some sent.

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                                              Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                              Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                              Date:  1864-08-03

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Detailed list of the marches made by the 6th Vermont from July 12th through August 3rd. He also writes of visiting the burial ground of some of the soldiers from Company I at Camp Griffin and of visiting former members of Company I when in Washington D.C. siting several by name, of receiving photographs of his family, and of receiving his back pay as Sergeant but not as Lieutenant.

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                                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                Date:  1863-03-09

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Lt. Chamberlain resigns due to illness, General Stoughton taken prisoner by Fitz Hugh Lee’s Cavalry at the Court House (Virginia), the large number of sick men in camp many with typhoid fever, fears his best horse will not regain health, enclosed pictures (ambrotype, a photograph), suggested reading for Laura with specific book titles stated as well as books he is reading (Motley's History of the Dutch Republic and Woman in White), orders for Colonel Blunt to report to the station to take command of the Brigade, description of who is in the photos being sent home.

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                                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                  Date:  1863-03-21

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  About ambrotype photo well received by Laura, that is well be protected by glass, his letter having been read in Sunday School by Mr. McKeen, instructions regarding financial matters at home, greetings to folks at home, inquiry about financial and other issues regarding Cyrus including wishing to have a "miniature" by Cyrus, and Roswell Farnham being put in charge of the detachment of Wolf Run Shoals, more details about the Kelly's Ford engagement on the 17th.

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