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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: ("United StatesArmy.Vermont Infantry Regiment, 8th (1861-1865)") remove term

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Title:   Francis C. Williams to Frederick Holbrook

Creator:  Williams, Francis C.

Date:  1862-04-25

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the regiment being situated at Camp on Ship Island, the establishment of (religious?) services on Tuesdays, and the intellectual capacity of the men of the Vermont regiments.

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    Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

    Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

    Date:  1862-08-08

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include Mrs. Holbrook requesting General Phelps to forward her letters to her son and Frederick Holbrook inquiring after the sick men and the number of surgeons. Holbrook expresses frustration that the Vt. Regiments (7th & 8th) are still not under Phelps's command, per an agreement with Gen. Butler. Holbrook also mentions Phelps's "Dark Brigade," black troops that Phelps recruited in Louisiana without permission from the War Dept. (Phelps resigned in Aug., 1862.)

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      Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

      Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

      Date:  1862-03-10

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Upbeat letter delivered to Gen. Phelps by the writer's son, William C. Holbrook, who apparently turned down an offer to join Phelps's staff. The writer, Gov. Holbrook, lavishes praise on Vermont officers and soldiers (including his son), and sends warm wishes for success to Phelps, sharing his conviction that "the Union Cause must triumph." Holbrook concludes with some reflections on the difficulty of being a wartime governor.

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        Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

        Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

        Date:  1862-05-02

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include the arrival of the 7th and 8th Vermont Regiments at Ship Island, off the coast of Miss., and arrangements with the War Department for wounded troops to be sent home. Holbrook mentions the Battle of Yorktown (April 5-May 4, 1862), esp. the "affair" on April 16 that left ca. 100 Vermont soldiers wounded. Holbrook is in charge of the U.S. Marine Hospital in Burlington, Vt.

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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 John Wolcott Phelps

            Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

            Date:  1862-03-06

            Resource type:   correspondence

            In his letter to General Phelps, Frederick Holbrook, Governor of Vermont (1861-1863), expresses his admiration for several Union officers from Vermont and his pride in the 8th Vt. Regiment. He informs the general that two infantry regiments and two artillery companies are ready to serve. (This is about one month before the Union attack on New Orleans, launched in part from Ship Island, just off the coast of Mississippi.) Holbrook explains that they would have been sent a month earlier "had Government been ready with funds." He looks forward to seeing Phelps again after the war.

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              Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

              Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

              Date:  1861-11-29

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include Brig. Gen. John Wolcott Phelps' commanding Butler's New England Division and inviting Frederick Holbrook's son William to be his Aid-de-Camp. Mention of 7th Vermont Regiment (the old 1st reorganized) also being attached to Butler, of Lt. Roberts being given Colonelcy of the 7th, of Major Kimball of the New Jersey 9th for Lt. Col. of the 8th Regiment, reference to Thanksgiving Proclamation.

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                Title:   John Lester Barstow to ?

                Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                Date:  1862-05-18

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include the comfortable lodgings of the regiment in New Orleans, the cost of food items, and the state of New Orleans when the Vermont Regiment arrived.

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                  Title:   John Lester Barstow to Father

                  Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                  Date:  1862-12-28

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include the fleeing of Rebels to Texas, the destruction and loss of property near New Orleans, and Barstow’s belief that the war must not end until the Union is restored.

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                    Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

                    Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                    Date:  1863-04-22

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Writing laying on the ground from Opelousas La. topics include the regiment moving and having an exchange of fire with the rebels, at last receiving letters dated Feb 28th and Mar. 10th, he being a Captain must walk (not ride according to regulations), his feet now sore and blistered, the men who were wounded in this exchange, and the regiment's plan to go to the Red River to attack Port Hudson or Vicksburg, regrets the lack of writing paper and pen.

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                      Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

                      Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                      Date:  1863-10-25

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Two letters dated Oct 25 and Oct 27 with topics including marching, waiting, more marching, more waiting, lack of food due to road conditions, unable to forage for food, hot days, cold nights, the importance of picket duty, the unpopularity of General William B. Franklin, and the army returning to New Iberia, fear that mail may be lost due to capture of wagons by Rebels and fear to send any money by mail.

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                        Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

                        Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                        Date:  1862-11-23

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include the idleness of the Regiment since its arrival on the banks of the Bayon and the help the Negroes are receiving from the government.

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                          Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

                          Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                          Date:  1862-12-14

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include General Banks superseding General Butler, the capture of one of the rebel officers, and the dishonorable discharge of Lieutenant Day.

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                            Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

                            Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                            Date:  1862-05-03

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include an overview of the daily schedule in camp, firing on Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philips by General Butler, General Phelps, and about 10,000 men that lasted for three days, and orders for the rest of the regiment to head for New Orleans.

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                              Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

                              Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                              Date:  1862-05-11

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include being aboard the ship “Jamis Hovey” on the Mississippi River on the way to New Orleans, the difficulty of the journey from Ship Island to New Orleans, and the initial observations upon the arrival in New Orleans.

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                                Title:   Justus E. Gale to Family

                                Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                Date:  1862-08-31

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include a train crash, confiscating rebel property including horses, cattle, sheep and mules. Writes of having plenty of food on their travel back to camp including dining on lamb. Provided a meal at an old planters house. Mentions Negroes (slaves) and 1500 Blacks at camp, sending troops to Gen. Phelps, the expectation of getting paid, rebels killed in an encounter with the enemy.

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                                  Title:   Justus E. Gale to Father

                                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                  Date:  1862-03-28

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Two letters one dated March 28th and one April 6th.Topics include a description of the journey to Ship Island, Mississippi, being seasick, about the food and hard bread, poor quality water and little of it, writes of his faith in God and his sighting of the island.

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                                    Title:   Justus E. Gale to Father

                                    Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                    Date:  1862-03-04

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Writing to his father from Brattleboro topics include the duties of an orderly for a Colonel, the improved health of Justus Gale, and the expected journey to New York.

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                                      Title:   Justus E. Gale to Father

                                      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                      Date:  1862-12-13

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the health of Justus Gale, the mistaken attack (friendly fire) by the Indiana regiment, the process of making sugar done by the slaves, and the daily drilling in camp.

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                                        Title:   Justus E. Gale to Sister

                                        Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                        Date:  1862-11-29

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include the movement of the regiment to Brashear City, of city purchases by Justus Gale of barrels of apples which he resold by the piece, of buying tobacco, postage stamps, writing supplies, local terms for cash money, of commanding officers of 3rd Louisiana colored regiment and the dry weather.

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                                          Title:   Justus E. Gale to Sister and Mother

                                          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                          Date:  1862-11-25

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include a summary of the health of Justus Gale’s family, makes references to his faith, the movement of the regiment to Brashear City, a scene in camp as soldiers go about various activities, and the warm weather.

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                                            Title:   Justus F. Gale to Brother

                                            Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                            Date:  1862-04-05

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Two letters, dated April 5th and 6th he writes from aboard the Ship Wallace heading for Ship Island. Mentions the "sugar place" back home in Elmore, Vt. Topics also include making a little bit of money buying and selling tobacco, the displeasure at having to remain on the ship, and the capture of two rebel steamers up the Mississippi River.

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                                              Title:   Justus F. Gale to Brother

                                              Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                              Date:  1862-02-07

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Writing from Brattleboro, Vermont, topics include news of bombardment of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River (February 6, 1862) by Commodore Andrew Hull Foote (officer of the U.S. Navy) and General Ulysses S. Grant, a skirmish that resulted in finding a barrel of rum, food sometimes good but not the hash made in camp and the vaccination of the company for pox.

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                                                Title:   Justus F. Gale to Brother

                                                Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                                Date:  1862-02-27

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Writing to his brother from Brattleboro topics include Justus Gale’s journey and arrival back at Camp Holbrook after having gone home to Elmore, Vermont for a visit, the expectation of receiving pay, and the possibility of leaving for Ship Island, Mississippi soon.

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                                                  Title:   Justus F. Gale to Brother

                                                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                                  Date:  1862-03-01

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include the improvement of Justus Gale’s health, over $60 of military pay sent home, trading for a watch and the anticipated journey to New York and then on to Ship Island, Mississippi.

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