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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:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

Date:  1863-01-14

Resource type:   correspondence

News that the Regiment is to be exchanged, size of Regiment reduced due to desertion, deaths and discharges, speculation about where the Reg. might be sent, men being readied with marching orders expected soon, still makes reference to the envelope in which money was lost with hope of being repaid.

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    Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

    Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

    Date:  1863-01-18

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include receiving family photographs, his displeasure with General Order 145, which allowed enlistment by volunteer soldiers in the regular army, how it affected discipline, Col. Andross resigning his office because of it, 65th waiting for their arms to be manufactured so they can move out.

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      Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

      Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

      Date:  1863-01-20

      Resource type:   correspondence

      News of fighting at Fredericksburg, Va. (Mud March of January 1863?), his duties regarding Quarterly Reports and keeping accounts, his worry about his brother Elisha Barney who feels must be in the fighting, reads from the newspapers that Elisha has been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He also writes of the weather, and reports of Rebel prisoners being sent to Camp Douglas.

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        Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

        Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

        Date:  1863-01-26

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Still at Camp Douglas with the Regiment remaining in Chicago to guard 1500 expected Rebel prisoners from Arkansas, good supper on tin dishes, getting teased about writing to his wife so frequently, the reported resignation of a brother of Lieut. Sherman in Company C because he was passed over for promotion, love to his daughter Carrie and son Fred.

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          Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

          Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

          Date:  1863-01-29

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include a deplorable condition of the Rebel prisoners on their arrival from the Murfreesboro battle after spending 27 days in transport, Rebels lack of descent clothing or food to eat, Barney's attendance at a Temperance meeting, and still writing about the lost money but has hope of being able to be repaid as the Chaplain had a similar loss and was repaid.

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            Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

            Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

            Date:  1863-01-31

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Written on Sherman House stationery topics include getting reimbursed for $120 stolen from an Express package, the condition of the more Rebel prisoners arriving, camp now having 4000 Confederate prisoners, attending a temperance lecture given by John B. Gough, and staying at the Sherman House, whose marble floor in the lobby was manufactured by Barney’s father.

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              Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

              Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

              Date:  1863-02-05

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include Thomas Cunliffe reported as a deserter, dental work done, $80 draft sent to Maria, getting help for her during the winter including getting milking done by Alfred or Has, surprised by the number of babies being born in Swanton during war time, and the antics of a Rebel prisoner.

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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:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                  Date:  1863-02-15

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include his desire to return home to play with his children, his worry about hearing that the family home was nearly lost in a fire, and how visiting with acquaintances helps him keep from being homesick.

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                    Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                    Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                    Date:  1863-02-18

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include being on guard duty, of the many court martial cases to be tried, his passion for collecting photographs of all the officers in the Regiment for his album, the resignation of officers, sending Meigs to pursue a deserter with no luck in arresting him, of hearing about a military draft in Vermont & the need for men to serve

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                      Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                      Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                      Date:  1863-02-22

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      His medicinal use of alcohol, the bitter weather, a practical joke he played on Lieutenant Erastus W. Jewett and the uses of humor, singing (Brave Boys are they) and other entertainments, his conversation with a Rebel prisoner about allegiance to the U.S., his worries about the news of small pox back home in Swanton.

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                        Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                        Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                        Date:  1863-02-25

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include the execution of many deserters via orders of Gen Hooker, small pox at Camp Douglas with Barney taking the vaccine against the disease, celebrating George Washington’s birthday, rebels taking the oath of allegiance, the passage of the draft bill with an expectation that many will leave for Canada.

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                          Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                          Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                          Date:  1863-03-02

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include attending a spiritualist lecture by Cora L. V. Hatch, of the importance of getting letters from Maria, his distress at receiving a letter from his wife in which she appears to doubt his love for her, and the shooting of a rebel prisoner by a member of the 65th.

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                            Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                            Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                            Date:  1863-03-06

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Camp guard house cleaned and fixed up so that the guards can rest when off the relief, how his company is eager to learn bayonet drill, what effect the draft will have on filling up his company, information on members of his company, inquiries about family, sending another photograph and speaks of letters to his daughter Carrie and son Fred.

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                              Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                              Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                              Date:  1863-03-09

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Barney writes of how soldiers incarcerated in the guard house organize life while there, mimicking the rules of a regiment, including a “Colonel” (the Bully) who gets his position by fighting other soldiers, of extortion committed, of brutal beatings with one soldier not expected to live. He also describes how a soldier from his company (the 9th) deposed the "Colonel" and himself rose to the rank of “Major General” before escaping from camp, of Barney going to church worship, of Gen. Hooker granting furloughs and writes of family members.

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                                Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                Date:  1863-03-12

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Writes of visualizing home and the children, his disgust with Copperheads, and his approval of Lincoln’s proclamation regarding deserters, as he feels that soldiers are enticed into deserting by Southern sympathizers. He also apologizes for his response to Maria’s letter dated February 23rd.

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                                  Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                  Date:  1863-03-16

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include his confidence in her childrearing abilities, Colonel Stannard’s promotion, the gifts the Regiment wishes to give him including a horse, saddle and other equestrian equipment, his hope that the Regiment will be under his command in one of the Vermont Brigades. He also writes of giving photographs of Tom Thumb and his wife as gifts to his children.

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                                    Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                    Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                    Date:  1863-03-20

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Writes of his feelings about being passed over for promotion in favor of Captain Edward H. Ripley being promoted to Major, since Ripley is friends with Major Stowell and is wealthy. Barney has seniority, is reassured he is well liked, respected and has the support of most of the line officers. He also writes of collecting photographs for his album.

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                                      Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                      Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                      Date:  1863-03-22

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the rainy weather and the monotony of camp life, comfortable living, the shortage of men in the regiment, of hopes of conscription act will fill the ranks and plans for home improvements including building a barn and cistern.

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                                        Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                        Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                        Date:  1863-03-26

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include discussing her trip to Danby, promotions in the Regiment, deserters returning to his Company, his brother Elisha being robbed in Washington, D.C., and a description of his rooms.

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                                          Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                          Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                          Date:  1863-03-29

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include orders received to go to Baltimore in the next day or two, will take only 36 men with him, and packs only what he will carry with him in the field having sold unneeded items.

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                                            Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                            Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                            Date:  [1861]-06-03

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Barney writes from Newport News, Virginia on the construction of a trench and accounts of alarms from the picket guard including a mule causing one of the alarms. Writes of the 2500 men, their disappointment at not being able to fire upon the Secessionists, fears the box from Swanton will not arrive at all, of the presence of 25 or 30 slaves, of horses, mules, dogs being brought in to camp, requests postage stamps and envelopes.

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                                              Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                              Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                              Date:  [1861]-06-09

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Barney writes of camp equipment inspection, Sunday services held by Chaplain Stone, of being one of the singers during the service singing "Sweet Home", of receiving letters from home, of there being 4000 men, two men with the measles, of the arrival of the New York 4th Regiment and Hawkins Zouaves, of camp duties.

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                                                Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                                Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                Date:  1861-06-30

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Writes from Newport, Va. of his improving health after a bout of illness, of about 6000 Rebels in the area which the company is out scouting, the capture of two prisoners from a Regiment of Zouaves from Louisiana who voluntarily surrendered as they thought their company had moved out without them, of Barney's weight loss, death of a man from the Middlebury Co. and his funeral.

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                                                  Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                  Date:  [1861]-07-04

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Writes from Newport News, Va of an account of the 4th of July celebrations among the troops, of the burning of the Steamer Cataline that was the company's mail boat, hopes of Congress being able to settle the war, his opinion of the war and of his improved health.

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