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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: ("Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866") remove term

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Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

Date:  1863-04-12

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include preparations to take the field for up to seven days, reflections on what living conditions might be light, what items are being taken, sending music home (Sitting on the Style & Dear Mother, I’ll come home again)

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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:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

      Date:  1863-04-24

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include Companies E and K going to Bristol Station with General Stannard, receiving military pay for the past four months, liking the song "Sitting on the Style, Mary".

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        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

        Date:  1863-05-11

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Reference to Gen. Joseph Hooker's withdrawal across the Rappahannock River at the Battle of Chancellorsville (April 1863), Hooker getting an additional 30,000 men from Hentzleman, where the various companies are stationed, sabotage and guerrilla tactics by "squads", the capture & release of Union soldiers, reference to Confederate forces under John Singleton Mosby and family photographs.

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          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

          Date:  1863-05-15

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include being on detail with 30 men guarding bridge at Kettle Run, the Confederate rebel John Singleton Mosby and his guerrilla squads in the vicinity, and a cavalryman coming into camp to warn of squad of greybacks chasing him.

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            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

            Date:  1863-05-16

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Writing a illustrated letter head stationery in an abandoned home, Spafford writes of guarding the Kettle Run Bridge in Virginia, a brief description of the deserted and burned homes between Manassas Junction and Warrenton Junction, using an old wind mill as a look out tower, the building of block houses for the men allowing them to shoot in all directions, being able to get milk and eggs, having stray dogs stealing fresh beef from the soldiers, inquiries about the draft in Vermont and talk among the men due to be released from the army.

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              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

              Date:  1863-05-21

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include a trip to Washington, D.C. to stock up on clothing and supplies, the high cost of staying in Washington, Ned getting badly wounded in the foot, music sent home "On the Shores of the Tennessee", complaint regarding mustering the men out as decided by the State officers.

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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:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                  Date:  1863-06-13

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include the hot weather, the anticipation of the rebels attacking again at Bull Run, receiving $214 in pay and sending $175 home, amount of money saved, the plan to go to Washington and hoping to get to Brattleboro and have Mary Jane and Ellen join him there.

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                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                    Date:  1863-06-15

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include Hooker’s Army being around Manassas and Centerville, the hot weather, the expectation of a pass to Washington, considering how to send military pay home in smaller amounts, hearing rumors of Robert E Lee and more and learning to ignore unless seen for himself.

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                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                      Date:  1863-06-16

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include the hot weather, trains of wagons, etc passing through camp raising much dust, Dr. George not yet returned.the 15th Regiment returning to Union Mills, soldiers report hard march in hot weather, sun stroke, Joseph being unable to get a pass to Washington, and the regiment being on picket duty, $20 enclosed, wondering if father might like to come to camp.

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                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                        Date:  1863-06-19

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include that letter writing the only activity going on, it raining at last, the possibility of Lee’s Army being at Vicksburg, the expectation of not being able to go to Washington again, wishing for a new pair of pants made from nice dark blue cloth, a piece of battle worn Union flag from the 4th Regiment.

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                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                          Date:  1863-06-21

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Writing from Union Mills, Va. makes reference to cannon firing around Thoroughfare Gap otherwise quiet in the area, comfortable weather, the location of the 1st Brigade and the 12th and 15th Regiments, to photographs of him wanted by others, enclosing the pieces of the flag he mentioned in an earlier letter, George is well and Captain Mason going on picket.

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                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                            Date:  1863-07-15

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            A brief letter about the Potomac Army camping near Williamsport, Maryland, Lee crossing into Virginia, and the expectation to move very soon.

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                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                              Date:  1863-07-16

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Unit has marched to Berlin, Maryland near Harper's Ferry, military duty ends July 23rd, most likely not see any more action before leaving the army, returning to Brattleboro by the 1st of August, asks about those pants he requested made, expresses his opinion on the New York City draft riot (July 13 - 16, 1863), mentions a eating warm biscuit & blackberry pie for dinner.

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                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                Date:  1863-07-23

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Writing from Brattleboro, a brief letter about when he may be arriving home, officers' duties need to be done first, instructions on how he may get his new pants and boiled shirts.

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                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                  Date:  1861-09-20

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Spafford writes of possible leave from Brattleboro on September 21, 1861, of giving George all his things except his overcoat that he will keep with him, of his desire to see his sister.

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                                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                    Date:  1861-09-20

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Writes of possible departure soon, of being told men to be mustered into service soon, of confrontation between the Colonel and men to be enlisted, of Guard House being full of men "who had run the Guard".

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                                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                      Date:  1861-09-15

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Spafford writes from Camp Holbrook in Brattleboro, Vt 4th Vt Vol. M. Atherton Guards to his sister in Upper Falls, Vt. Topics include marching orders for Washington, D.C. on September 16, 1861, of his stolen "valice" (dressing case), of having received military supplies of blankets and forthcoming uniforms and arms.

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                                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                        Date:  1861-09-15

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Spafford writes to his sister about possibly coming to see him at Camp Holbrook in Brattleboro, of Captain A. writing to his wife to have her join him at camp, having received guns and about possible delay in departure.

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  1861-09-2?

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Spafford writes of his opinions of some of the men, possibly getting a photograph taken of him to send home, the photographer being very busy taking many photographs for $1.00 each, sending money home.

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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]-11-22

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include the Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac at Ball's Cross Roads, "Old Abe" to see 75,000 troops, scouting excursion, marching, picket guard, mentions Thanksgiving in Vermont.

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                                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                Date:  1861-11-17

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include an expected package from home, lack of military pay, death of three men in the company from the fever, of a father retrieving his son's body..

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                                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                  Date:  1862-04-14

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include not yet being moved from the Mansion House Hospital to one in Washington, his health being with fever and ague, of disposing of his letters from home by burning them and thus needing Homer White’s address again.

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