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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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Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to ?

Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

Date:  1862-12-10

Resource type:   correspondence

Heaton writes that he is sending money home ($20), and that he needs $1 in postage stamps sent to him (the rest can go toward Lucy's board at school during the winter). His camp site, Belle Plains, Va., lies just east of Fredericksburg, the site of a major battle (Dec. 11-15, 1862) that began a day after Heaton wrote this note; hence, the need to be ready with sixty rounds of "catridges."

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    Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Family

    Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

    Date:  1861-07-30

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include an account of the journey from Camp Baxter.

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      Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

      Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

      Date:  1863-10-04

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writing a brief letter to his father, Solomon G. Heaton’s states his dislike for General Mead of the Army of the Potomac, mention of Gen. McClellan and requests several clothing items to be sent from home including boots, gloves and food such as tea, cheese, bread, maple sugar.

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        Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

        Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

        Date:  1863-11-24

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include the anticipated move of the army, the branding and branding of two soldiers, disapproves of this action by the army, requests food and clothing from home.

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          Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

          Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

          Date:  1861-11-17

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include the cold weather at Camp Griffin.

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            Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

            Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

            Date:  1862-10-30

            Resource type:   correspondence

            As Heaton indicates, the Army of the Potomac crossed the river into Virginia at the time this letter was written (Gen. George McClellan would soon be removed, however, and succeeded by Gen. Ambrose Burnside). There is no record of a "very hard fight" at Gordonsville, Va. Gen. Wm. Buel Franklin was implicated in some intrigue against Burnside, and both were relieved of their command in Jan., 1863. Heaton complains about harsh treatment by his commanding officer and being denied a rubber blanket. Nevertheless, he claims to be in good spirits.

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              Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Mother

              Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

              Date:  1861-12-25

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include a brief account of Thanksgiving and Christmas at Camp Griffin.

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                Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Mother

                Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                Date:  1862-03-17

                Resource type:   correspondence

                With Heaton's words, "the great Army of the Potomac has at last started," we get a sense of impatience, on the soldier's part, with Gen. George McClellan's well-known reluctance to send men into battle. The date of this letter coincides within the beginning of the Peninsula Campaign, which deployed over 121,000 Union soldiers. Perhaps Heaton's regiment, camped somewhere in Virginia, is about to meet up with this "offul Army down on the co[a]st it numbers 90 thousand men" as part of the Campaign. He notes some of the destruction left behind by retreating rebels, most notably the burned homes near Fairfax courthouse, supposedly where George and Martha Washington were married. (The home owned by Martha Custis, Washington's betrothed, was indeed burned in 1862 because of the war. This is believed to have been a likely site of the marriage in early January, 1759.) Other place names mentioned: Mannassas, Centerville.

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