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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: ("Postal service") remove term

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Title:   Bradford Sparrow to Alner D. Sparrow

Creator:  Sparrow, Bradford

Date:  1864-03-09

Resource type:   correspondence

Writes to his father of regulations required in reporting money sent through the mail not being received so that in case the situation arises a claim can be submitted ; of wanting to know what auction items were bought, of sugaring season soon in Vermont, of wet, rainy weather in Virginia.

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    Title:   Bradford Sparrow to Father, Mother and Brothers

    Creator:  Sparrow, Bradford

    Date:  1864-01-01

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include letters being delayed, the muddy camp in Virginia, winter quarters, inquiring after his brother Albert's schooling, requests a loaf of brown bread, a tin plate & other items, comments on news from home of folks health and passing away.

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      Title:   Bradford Sparrow to Parents and Brothers

      Creator:  Sparrow, Bradford

      Date:  1864-02-18

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writes of substitute soldiers deserting after being paid, of Mosby assisting the deserters, mentions the Confederate pirate sloop ship the Alabama (documented as being sunk in June 1864) and of photographs (ambrotype), of mail being robbed.

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        Title:   Bradford Sparrow to Parents and Brothers

        Creator:  Sparrow, Bradford

        Date:  1864-06-05

        Resource type:   correspondence

        A sore has developed on his left heel, is to go to the hospital and see the surgeon, Union army if strengthening its hold in the face of the Rebels strong hold in the area, mentions that newspapers generally get the news wrong and cautions folks at home in believing everything printed, mentions Grant and his chances of taking Richmond.

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          Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Parents

          Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

          Date:  1862-02-02

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include reminiscences of church meetings in Vt., stimulated by his attendance of them at camp; how much he enjoys the supplies (footwear, clothing, food, brandy) from home; some medical treatment that was improved with brandy; his appreciation of family and home; a few words about postal delivery; and a map of the South he plans to give to his father. -- Because of winter, the war has slackened off a bit. Lincoln is still trying to force McClellan to act.

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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:   George W. Quimby to Emeline B. Masta

              Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

              Date:  1862-11-30

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include George W. Quimby giving advice to his sister on whether or not to sell her house and the location of the regiment. Also, some grumblings about "that imbecile cabinet in Washington" and the post-McClellan command.

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                Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

                Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                Date:  1862-03-30

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include the journey from Annapolis to Harpers Ferry, Henry Smith's good health, liking the hand made shirt he received from home very much, keeps his brandy with him, burning of the post office by the Confederates, requests more postage stamps.

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                  Title:   Henry A. Smith to Mother

                  Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                  Date:  1862-11-20

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Writing from Chantilla, Virginia topics include the anticipation of receiving a package from home. Box directed to the camp at Alexandria for a few items were sent on to his current location.Mentions his good health and that he often feels better out scouting than when he stays in camp. States fellow Vermonter taken prisoner. Inquires about folks and activities at home.

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                    Title:   Henry Harrison Wilder to Mother

                    Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

                    Date:  1862-01-26

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include marching orders, the cold weather, and the way the regiment sets up their guns so they are always ready. The order to march probably refers to Lincoln's General War Order No. 1, an attempt to prod his generals to act. By "Chatilerz" Wilder may have meant "chattelers," or those assigned the duty of moving war materiel.

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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 Harrison Wilder to Mother

                        Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

                        Date:  1862-06-25

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include Captain E. S. Stowell heading for Vermont to become a Major in the 9th Regiment, the death of Wilder's Aunt, and Wilder receiving his pay the next day. June 25 marks the beginning of the failed campaign against Richmond known as The Seven Days.

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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:  1864-11-04

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Writing from camp near Cedar Creek, Va, topics include the difficulty with sending letters given their location in the Valley, an offer given to him to transfer to a hospital in Washington, his taking offense with Governor Smith and feeling disrespect from the Gov. for not giving Rutherford a commission, again writes of Lucien wishing to have him know of Rutherford's good feelings towards him.

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                              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                              Date:  1865-01-?

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              A brief letter with concerns of not receiving letters from Hannah although he does get letters from daughter Helen; has heard no news from Governor Smith, been ill with diarrhea for a few days, sends his Corps badge home.

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                                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                                Date:  1863-08-27

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Writing from camp in the field near Sulphur Springs, Virginia topics include reference to postal service, the sickness of a couple of men, the good health of Rutherford in spite of the lack of food, his encounter with a swarm of wild bees, not suffering from his rheumatism as in the past, reference to lice as grey backs and the hope that he will receive the promotion.

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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:  1861-10-8

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Writes of good postal service on letter delivery, of Sargent Charley Reed, of Captain Altherton, of wanting a photograph of Homer, general good health of the men, a heavy rain storm that flooded his tent, of going out on Battalion drill.

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                                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                      Date:  1861-11-10

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Writes of how a box can be sent, desire for larger size boots, stockings, apples, Meerschaumn pipe

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                                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                        Date:  1861-11-17

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include an expected package from home, lack of military pay, death of three men in the company from the fever, of a father retrieving his son's body..

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  1862-03-06

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Spafford writes of difficulty of getting postage stamps in the correct amount needed to mail letters home and that the prepared rations ordered for possible march on Feb 27th were consumed in camp.

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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:  1862-04-09

                                              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:  1862-12-09

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include the 13th, 14th, and 15th regiments moving near Bull Run battlefield, Stoughton arriving in camp, his comfortable living quarters, plenty to eat and inquiries about home.

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                                                  Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                                  Date:  1863-01-01

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Writing from Brashear City (Morgan City), Louisiana topics include wishing his sister a happy New Year and ruminating on his life as a soldier so far. He also writes about his health, the food he is eating, his mail, newspapers, what he wants put in a box his family is sending to him and regards to family members and friends.

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