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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: ("Recruiting and enlistment") 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:   Charles Dillingham to William Wirt Henry

    Creator:  Dillingham, Charles, b. 1837

    Date:  1861-08-16

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Writes of wishing to be sent food such as dried beef, cheese, pickles, maple sugar, crackers. Mentions Bush Hill, camping in rainy weather with everything they had being wet, brigade review by General Smith, discontent among the officers. In need of recruits.

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      Title:   Charles Dillingham to William Wirt Henry

      Creator:  Dillingham, Charles, b. 1837

      Date:  1861-08-28

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writes of authority to enlist 40 men, Lt. Hoyt to go to Vermont to recruit instead of Charles Dillingham, need for good men, will try to discharge from the record those men who have died, were ordered to be in light marching order. May be to attack rebel camp across the river at Falls Church, some illness among the men.

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        Title:   Edward P. Stone to Family

        Creator:  Stone, Edward P., 1830-1920

        Date:  1861-12-28

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include the improving health of the men in the regiment and officers being ordered home to recruit for the brigade.

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          Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

          Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

          Date:  1861-08-10

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include Frederick Holbrook requesting that his son William be under General John Wolcott Phelps' command in the position of Aid, Secretary or of some type of assistant.

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            Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

            Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

            Date:  1861-08-27

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include John Wolcott Phelps being promoted to Brigadier General by President Lincoln and the Senate, as well as a state election (held first Tuesday in September) for which Frederick Holbrook is running for governor. Holbrook mentions again his desire to have his son, William, be attached to Phelps.

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              Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

              Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

              Date:  1862-07-27

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include the President calling for 300,000 additional troops, the wish that the National Government will develop a decisive policy to "proclaim war to the knife," and a description of Frederick Holbrook's son Major Will. Holbrook continues to express his admiration for Phelps and offer him greater forces to command.

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                Title:   Frederick Holbrook to Roswell Farnham

                Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

                Date:  1862-12-02

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Farnham receives a brief letter from Governor Frederick Holbrook of Vermont writing from Montpelier of Farnham's concerns about soldier vacancies in the Vermont regiments and the method to fill them. Mentions Col. Proctor.

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                  Title:   J. Gregory Smith to William C. Holbrook

                  Creator:  Smith, J. Gregory

                  Date:  1864-04-25

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include a proposal to brigade the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Vermont Regiments and the decision from the War Department in Washington to set a definitive date for the end of the regiments’ term.

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                    Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

                    Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                    Date:  1864-02-21

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include much activity in camp, the reenlisting of 361 men, news from Washington about enlistment dates, reorganizing of divisions 7 brigades, Col. Stephen Thomas in command of regiment but no longer in command of brigade, the death of two in New Orleans from illness, reference to Gen. Nathaniel Prentiss Banks.

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                      Title:   Jonathan Curtis Tyler to John Wolcott Phelps

                      Creator:  Tyler, Jonathan Curtis

                      Date:  1861-06-13

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include Jonathan Curtis Tyler, a soon to be Yale graduate, appealing to Col. John Wolcott Phelps for a chance to serve his country in one of the four Vermont regiments that were currently recruiting.

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                        Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                        Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                        Date:  1863-08-08

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Writing in the field near White Sulphur Springs, Virginia topics include the one year anniversary of joining the army, reflections on life, war and family, Col. Jewett and Capt Frost recruiting the drafted men, no food in the wasted countryside, and men endure their hardships.

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                          Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                          Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                          Date:  1863-08-25

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Three letters included here. Rutherford tells his wife about the raising of two new Vermont Regiments, his anxious feelings and desire for the possibility of a promotion to lead a Regiment, Dr. Willard Augustus Childe's letter and a letter from Lieut. Col. William Writ Henry to Vermont Governor Frederick Holbrook. Both letters recommending Rutherford for promotion.

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                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                            Date:  1862-02-07

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Spafford writes to his friend Homer on topics including Typhoid Fever in the Regiment, friendship, camp life, Hancock’s Brigade [Winfield Scott Hancock], and answering his friend’s questions about joining the Regiment and fear of dying.

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                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                              Date:  1862-08-24

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Writing from Windham, Vt to his friend Homer White topics include Joseph Spafford deciding to enlist and reference to others who have decided to enlist.

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                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                Date:  1861-12-08

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include Captain Atherton expected arrival in Cavendish to recruit men for the regiment, the sending of a photograph, reference to Laurence, the daguerreotype man from Chester who will be taking pictures of the 2nd Vermont Regiment.

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                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                  Date:  [1862]-10-24

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writing from Brattleboro topics include George deciding to joint the regiment, Joseph Spafford receiving his payment, and the mustering of the regiment.

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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:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                      Date:  1862-08-26

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include wishing his sister a happy birthday, clearing up the rumor that he is dead, the enlisting of blacks, and the enlisting of men from home before they are drafted.

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                                        Title:   Leavitt Hunt to John Wolcott Phelps

                                        Creator:  Hunt, Leavitt

                                        Date:  1861-10-05

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include Mr. Cutts of Brattleboro and Leavitt Hunt asking Gen. John Wolcott Phelps to write a recommendation for a friend who was hoping to receive a Colonelcy position so as to raise a regiment in Vermont. Writer mentions the Army in the Potomac with 80,000 men on the other side of the river. Written from the Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C.

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                                          Title:   Letter to John Wolcott Phelps

                                          Date:  1862-08-10

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Holbrook waxes eloquent in his call for a "'Great Awakening' at Washington" and a greater awareness of how "our present severe training" will make the nation stronger; but the federal government needs to take the war seriously in order to have victory. Accordingly, Holbrook supports Lincoln's call for 300,000 additional troops, but suggests that a million men in arms would bring success. Intuits correctly that Phelps's "Dark Brigade" (black troops) would not be allowed to bear arms.

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                                            Title:   Lyman Barton to Melissa Barton

                                            Creator:  Barton, Lyman, 1839-1936

                                            Date:  1864-01-31

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Lyman Barton writes of returning to his regiment, even though he was due more sick leave. He also comments on men from Moriah and Crown Point who have not enlisted and those who have. As well he mentions gossip from home and teases his sister about her Vermont suitor. Finally, he includes a memoranda of his activities from January 1 to January 15, including detailing the food he eats daily and the games played by the 15th Connecticut Regiment on New Year’s Day.

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                                              Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                                              Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                                              Date:  1862-07-17

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              From Harrison's Landing to Julia still in Boston topics include the improved health of Wheelock Veazey, Major Seaver’s resignation denied, wishing to be home, the possibility of the war ending in the autumn if more troops are raised but fears it will not be enough or soon enough and of having been sent some two dozen bottles of whiskey but does not know who sent them.

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                                                Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                                Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                                Date:  1862-11-05

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include a description of the Court of Inquiry that was held by General Butler, his disdain for Gen. Butler; sending men to Vt to recruit for the regiment, the wish to establish recruiting stations by the Canadian border, praise for the French Canadians as soldiers and recommending the Quartermaster Morse for a promotion.

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                                                  Title:   William H. Barton to Hiram Barton

                                                  Creator:  Barton, William H., b. 1826

                                                  Date:  1865-02-12

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  William Henry Barton (known as Henry) writes of his hope that several specific people in Crown Point would be drafted, though he suspects that one of them, Americus Spaulding, will fake palpitations of the heart to avoid the draft. He also wishes that anyone voting “secesh” would be drafted. As well, he writes of the cold weather and of the visit to Winchester of Elisha Haskell’s wife, who didn’t “like see so many nigers.”

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