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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:    Author: ("Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915") remove term

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Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

Date:  1862-08-13

Resource type:   correspondence

A brief letter writing from camp in Brattleboro, Vt. topics include the birth of Henry's baby boy and a possible promotion to Major.

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    Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

    Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

    Date:  1862-08-15

    Resource type:   correspondence

    A very brief letter from Camp Washburn topics include inquiries after the well being of his baby boy and the anticipated promotion to Major.

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      Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

      Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

      Date:  1862-08-18

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writing from Camp Bradley (later Camp Holbrook) in Brattleboro, Vt. topics include anxious to see his baby boy, continued anticipation of appointment to Major and as acting Adjutant for 11th Regt.until Mr. Curtis of Burlington arrives.

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        Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

        Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

        Date:  1862-08-22

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include the poor health of William Henry's sister Katie and the appointment of Acting Major.

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          Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

          Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

          Date:  1862-08-24

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include being put in charge of the 10th Regiment for a few days, William Henry's wish to go home to see his family, the duties of being a Major, feeling very proud of his military promotion, Dress Parade well attended by some 400 to 500 people including Mr. Cummings who was Speaker of the House.

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            Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

            Date:  1862-[09]-17

            Resource type:   correspondence

            A brief letter telling of marching to the Maryland side of the Potomac River, guarding the river from Senaca Creek to Edwards Ferry, of a victory against the rebels, of having a horse to ride to enjoy the countryside and fresh vegetables to eat.

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              Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

              Date:  1862-09-20

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include reflecting on Katie's death and William Henry being in command of five companies and five miles of the Potomac River along Seneca Creek.

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                Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                Date:  1862-09-24

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include the good health of the regiment, him having a good bay horse as he needs to ride 15 miles to visit all the pickets and the need for friends and family in a time of loss.

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                  Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                  Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                  Date:  1862-09-28

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Writing from his camp in the field topics include a brief account of William Henry's day that includes living quarters with Company B, morning hygiene, breakfast, riding his horse to visit a company and give a lecture picket duty, visiting another officer to discuss matters, a good dinner and ride back to his headquarters. Also inquiries about his family.

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                    Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                    Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                    Date:  [1864]-04-17

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Henry writes that he was extremely happy getting a letter from his wife, and that he is glad her “little difficulties” were better. He mentions speaking with Captain Frost about Frost's visit to Waterbury, and that Colonel Jewett is talking about resigning again.

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                      Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                      Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                      Date:  1864-04-20

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      A long and emotional letter in which Henry writes of his relationship with his wife and his feelings about their marriage. He also mentions seeing General Grant for the first time and that he likes his looks, and that a big box has arrived from home. As well he writes of recommending various officers for promotion.

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                        Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                        Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                        Date:  1864-04-29

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Henry writes that the mail is being held up in Washington until the Regiment moves, that he has received postage stamps as he requested and that nothing much is happening except that some of the line officers are getting up a little “breeze” against Captain Frost. Reference to Captain Dillingham and Mr. Dillingham.

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                          Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                          Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                          Date:  1864-05-09

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Henry writes of heavy engagement of the Vermont 10th in battle and how the regiment has done itself proud. May be referring to Battle of Spotsylvania Court House or the Battle of the Wilderness. Few killed with few wounded from the regiment. One general was killed and another wounded by sharpshooters. Reference to General Grant.

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                            Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                            Date:  1864-05-16

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Henry writes from the field near Spottsylvania that the Vermont Brigade has been in the midst of the battles, but the 10th Vermont has been lucky enough to avoid the worst fighting. He mentions that the Governor (J. Gergory Smith) is coming for a visit and will send this letter home with him, and that his family should keep up their courage during these “exciting times” and write to him often.

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                              Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                              Date:  1864-05-17

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Henry writes that the 10th Vermont is in the same position and waiting for reinforcements. He also writes that he has seen terrible sights but will wait until he is home to tell his family about them. Henry continues the letter with a description of the political infighting in the regiment, caused by Major (Charles G.) Chandler’s objection to the promotion of Captain Edwin B. Frost, which resulted in Governor (J. Gregory) Smith denying all the officers their commissions. Henry writes that he prefer charges against Major Chandler as soon as the Major gets drunk again.

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                                Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                Date:  1864-05-18

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Henry writes that the 10th Vermont was moved from the left to the right of the Union line in expectation of a battle, but the orders were bungled and the 10th came too late and only skirmished. They were then moved back to their old position on the left. Two soldiers were killed in the skirmish.

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                                  Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                  Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                  Date:  1864-05-20

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Henry writes that the line has advanced its position two miles south of Spotsylvania and the regiment has dug in, waiting for a Confederate attack or for the rebels to run out of food. He feels that the Army will try and flank the Confederate position, and mentions that General Jubal Early tried to raid Union wagons near Fredericksburg but was repulsed. Henry describes laying in the rifle pit, writing this letter while shots are going over his head, and mentions that he was shot at the night before, “but the fellow must have been a very poor shot...”

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                                    Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                    Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                    Date:  1864-06-04

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Henry writes during a lull in the Battle of Cold Harbor that he has been wounded and a finger amputated, and that he will be in the Division Hospital for around three weeks, until he can wield a saber again. He then writes movingly about the death of Captain Edwin B. Frost, lists the names of some of the wounded and makes reference to Gen. Grant to lay siege to Richmond, Va. The letter was dictated to Lieutenant George P. Welch.

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                                      Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                      Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                      Date:  1864-06-18

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Henry writes that he is sorry for not writing sooner, but the Hospital was moved and his hand was so bad he thought he might lose it. It is better now and he hopes to be back with the Regiment in a few days. He also writes that the best account of the Battle of Cold Harbor is in the “Tribune” and to ignore the papers that reported his death or that he was wounded in the head.

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                                        Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                        Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                        Date:  1864-06-20

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Henry writes that he has returned to command the 10th Regiment and that many officers are unhappy with the way Lieutenant Colonel Chandler manages the regiment. He also writes that the regiment is being held in reserve at the moment near Petersburgh where the Union troops hold half the city and the Rebels the other half and that it came under fire the previous day, with seven soldiers wounded. Reference to Lt. Col. Chandler & his command & to the loss of Frost & Stetso

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                                          Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                          Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                          Date:  1864-06-24

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Henry writes that he has had to return to the hospital because he tore up the wound on his hand during a grand charge made by the 10th Vermont the day before. He complains that he and everyone else are very tired because of all the marching and charging they have had to do in such hot weather. He also writes that the 10th Vermont has been given a good position on the left side of the line and hasn’t seen as much hard fighting as the other regiments.

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                                            Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                            Date:  1864-06-25

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Henry writes that he is getting along well and that Captain Dillingham and Lieutenant Thompson are both at the Hospital with him. They are all staying with Assistant Surgeon Dr. Rutherford and the Chaplain, Edwin M. Haynes. As well, Henry writes that because of his experience in the Hospital, he now has a greater appreciation of the Sanitary Commission and the Christian Commission, and he asks his wife to give the Sanitary Commission a ten dollar donation.

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                                              Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                              Date:  1864-06-29

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Henry writes that his hand is getting better and he hopes to return to his command in a couple of days. The army is currently resting, though there are rumors that the cavalry and gun boats will be going into action soon. He also writes that the army has confidence in Grant and Mead and that the loss of the railroad will hurt the Confederates, since they have a large army to feed and many civilians have fled to Richmond and Petersburg. As well, Henry writes of how much he misses his wife and how angry he is with Dr. Child for not authorizing leave. He also writes of having to put down the young horse he bought for his wife to ride because it caught glanders.

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                                                Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                                Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                                Date:  1864-07-03

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Henry writes of his gratitude for his wife’s patriotic words in her last letter, and that he is pleased with her praise of his courage and hopes he will remain brave. He mentions the Battle of Cold Harbor and that he now has the reputation of a fighting officer, since he led the charge there. He also writes that he is back in command of the regiment again, though his hand is not completely healed, and writes as well of the bravery of the colored troops, which the men call “whitewashed yankees.” At the end of the letter he mentions his sister Delia, who has married a Southern doctor and lives in Kinston, N.C., hoping she can live in peace and has enough to eat.

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                                                  Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                                  Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                                  Date:  1864-07-04

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Henry writes that he has celebrated the Fourth of July by writing letters to his “sister” Katie Parker, and to Eli B. Johnson, and that he couldn’t go to bed without writing a short letter to his wife, though his wound still pains him.

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