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

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Title:   Charles C. Gregg to William Wirt Henry

Creator:  Gregg, Charles C., 1832-1910

Date:  1862-05-28

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the expectation of a "big old fight" near Richmond (Battle of Seven Pines or Fair Oaks, ended June 1st, 1862), and the report of a fight led by "Porter and Stonman" (Fitz John Porter and George Stoneman, both Union officers) against 17,000 rebels (actual number: 4,500). This was the Battle of Hanover Court House, 18 miles north of Richmond, on May 27th, 1862. Mentions the appointment of Col. George J. Stannard to lead the Vt. 9th Regiment.

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    Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

    Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

    Date:  1862-09-11

    Resource type:   correspondence

    From camp near Alexandria Va. topics include the journey from Alexandria to Munsons Hill and back to a camp near Alexandria, to his lending money to fellow soldiers, reference to Vermont regiments 9th, 10th and 11th, a description of Wesley Watts being wounded in a skirmish against the rebels, praise of McClellan, reference to Bull Run, John Pope and some of the other men who have been wounded.

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      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

      Date:  1861-10-23

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writes of muddy conditions at Camp Griffin, Virginia, of seeing Gen. Davis from Cavendish, of learning George is to be married, of being still in good health, of having gone out scouting but seeing no Rebels, asks about Thanksgiving in Vermont, meals of wheat bread and coffee, getting butter from sutler to enhance his meal.

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        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

        Date:  1861-10-30

        Resource type:   correspondence

        October 30, 1861. Topics include the postponement of a review of the Army of the Potomac, the numerous regiments at Camp Griffin, Virginia, a prediction of a move to Vienna after a naval strike, requests for stocking yarn, sealing wax and two sealing stamps, a daguerreotype photographer to travel with the regiment, mentions pay, the need to purchase shoes, going to the sutler for butter, general health of the men, praises the surgeon,

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          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

          Date:  1861-11-04

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include Battalion and Regiment drills, having had a photograph taken of him, arrangements for Joseph Spafford's mother and sister to send him items and food from home, has received gloves from home, getting writing materials from the sutler, illness among the men, death from disease, personal family matter, wants lyrics sent to the song "Rock me to sleep".

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            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

            Date:  1862-01-02

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Written to his sister from his Virginia camp, topic include politics of promotion and his chances of getting promoted, theft in the Regiments, photographs, and the opium habit of an unnamed soldier from Jamaica, Vermont.

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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:  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:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                  Date:  1862-04-21

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include the improvement in Justus Gale's health, the cost of food items in camp, the death of three men in the regiment, the attempted suicide of a man in Company F, mentions "sugar place" back home in Elmore and writes about the lack of information in camp about the rest of the Union Army.

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                    Title:   Lyman Barton to Sister

                    Creator:  Barton, Lyman

                    Date:  1862-11-25

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include an account of the Battle of Antetam [sic], the cold weather, the high prices of goods at camp, and reports on the health of other soldiers and family members.

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                      Title:   Lyman S. Willams to Lois L. Williams

                      Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                      Date:  1862-07-27

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include the quietness of camp near Harrisons Landing, a church service that Lyman Williams attended, and the food Lyman misses from home.

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                        Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                        Date:  1863-06-02

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include being field officer of the day, ride with Col. Blunt to Wolf Run Shoals, sutler tent torn down by the men & some supplies drank & eaten, a raid by the rebels on the railroad and the destruction of the train with rebels' artillery being taken by Union soldiers, and the hope that Colonel Andross and Stearns will come out to Union Mills.

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                          Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                          Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                          Date:  1862-11-20

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Farnham writes from Camp Vermont about preparations for his wife, Mary's visit to camp, about how comfortable their dwelling will be, how he will meet up with her once she arrives, reference to a new sutler, and mentions other wives coming to visit.

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                            Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                            Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                            Date:  1863-02-10

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include trying to get a pass into camp so a friend can see the Rebel prisoners, promotions in the Regiment, including the promotion of Colonel Stannard to Brigadier General, and a riot by the 65th Illinois Infantry Regiment against the sutlers.

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                              Title:   Warren E. Bliss to Smiley Bancroft

                              Creator:  Bliss, Warren E., 1840-1930

                              Date:  1862-06-19

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include moving to camp near the Chickahominy, anticipation of a battle at Richmond, the capture of Fort Darling, a description of the Battle of Fair Oaks, and the death of Charles Bancroft. Topics include moving to camp near the Chickahominy, anticipation of a battle at Richmond, the capture of Fort Darling, a description of the Battle of Fair Oaks, and the death of Charles Bancroft. Use of hot air balloons in reconnaissance is mentioned, as is the observation that many plantations are deserted by their owners and run by slaves, Gen. McClellan threatened to turn every "White House" (plantation) into a hospital.

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                                Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                Date:  1862-02-23

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include a travel route planned to return home via Annapolis, Brattleboro and maybe even Burlington, the capture of 18 Rebel prisoners near Fairfax, and the hope of one of the wounded prisoners, a Virginian, to retake the oath to become a citizen of the United States again, reference to a Flag of Truce to send a letter to the Confederate Army, his side business doing poorly as the men have expected orders to move and the Sutlers not buying for the same reason.

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                                  Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                  Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                  Date:  1863-01-11

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Letter discusses potential promotions for Col. Jewett and for himself, military pay, heavy expenses including owed to Sutler Geo Skiff, regiment to be at Poolsville, health of family and children as well as the potential for a visit from his wife. Appreciation for friends and family's help is also mentioned, as well as keeping the farm and taking care of elderly parents.

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                                    Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                    Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                    Date:  1863-01-15

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    A brief letter discusses the lack of letters received, money sent home via Sutler Geo Skiff, states various soldiers sick including Typhoid fever, some going home due to illness.

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                                      Title:  

                                      Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                      Date:  1864-03-26

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Barney writes in reply to his wife’s question about his horse, informing her that he has applied to the government for a horse, but if it falls through, he will want one from Vermont. He also expresses his unhappiness with the way Dr. Morgan procured the last horse. He also writes of a drunk soldier and how he has punished drunkenness in the Regiment before.

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