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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.


Time Period Covered: January 1, 1861 - February 28, 1864 

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Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

Date:  1862-11-05

Resource type:   correspondence

Dr. Rutherford writes of a battle near Leesburgh some 14 miles from the camp near Seneca Creek (Maryland?) the outcome of which is not known, of the filthy condition of some of the soldiers, of an epidemic of Typhoid fever with the loss of over a dozen men to the illness. He writes of his winter living accommodations of which he is very happy and mentions "Mose the Moor", the runaway black slave boy who tends to him. Also writes of a review from the Brigadier General, and the health of Rutherford’s family.

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    Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

    Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

    Date:  1862-07-29

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include returning to Baton Rouge and the comforts that came with this move, expresses his decided opinion on the ramifications of releasing “unlettered Negroes” (i.e. slaves), feels the blacks are well enough cared for in general, speaks against blacks as a possible fighting force, the treatment of the slaves who enter Union lines by the Union soldiers, feels politicians need to experience first hand the habits of black slaves of the south and not hold such lofty ideals, the attempted “cut off” of the Mississippi River by the Union, and the death of W. C. Holbrook’s grandfather.

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      Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

      Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

      Date:  1863-01-04

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Reflects on God's will regarding his children, Rebel cavalry movements, Union scouts were thought to be Rebels, a cow disturbing a picket guard and rousing the camp, the general despondency of the army and the worsening of the war if slaves enter the fighting turning on their masters. He also writes of his hopes of being promoted to colonel of the 10th Vermont.

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