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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:   Ransom W. Towle to Family and Friends

Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

Date:  1862-01-29

Resource type:   correspondence

Towle writes to parents and friends from Camp Griffin in Virginia about foraging for wood by tearing down fences, desolation of the countryside due to the war, Southerners pretending Union sympathies so as to not be driven from their homes, of the mud, and of making a pipe for smoking from the root of a Laurel tree.

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    Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Family and Friends

    Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

    Date:  1862-02-02

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Towle writes of missing his newspaper and his wish to remain informed on both foreign and army news and of some of the men's morale writing home about the hardships of war and a desire to see it end. He writes of Col. Stoughton resignation, of officers' wives attending the camp's religious service and how the service differs from the traditional church worship.

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      Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

      Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

      Date:  1862-02-17

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include Towle’s sickness Saturday night, of illness and death within the company and regiment, praise for officer Lieut. Pingree, reference to rumor of the capture of Savannah (does he refer to Georgia?), and a brief reference to the possible firing of guns at Fort Ethan Allen for some victory somewhere.

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        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

        Date:  1861-02-27

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Writing from his Virgina camp Griffin, Towle gives a description of a Battalion Drill and the ill health effects on the soldiers, of a gale storm damaging tents and overturning an ambulance with a sick soldier inside. He writes of orders from General McClellan to be ready to move, and states men are sick and death count to date for his regiment is 66.

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          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

          Date:  [1862]-03-05

          Resource type:   correspondence

          From Camp Griffin, Towle writes of a brigade and bayonet drill, the increasing number of sick men with the death count for the regiment at 77, and of the monotony of camp life.

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            Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

            Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

            Date:  1861-03-22

            Resource type:   correspondence

            From his camp near Alexandria, Virginia Towle writes of the rainy weather, muddy conditions, sleeping conditions wet and tents inadequate for keeping the soldiers dry and of the number of troops camped out in the area. Towle makes a brief reference to his father’s misfortunes [ill health?].

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              Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

              Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

              Date:  1862-04-06

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Towle writes from near Yorktown and of firing upon and taking a Rebel fortification at Young's Mills with little resistance from the enemy. He writes a soldier was wounded soldier who was from the Rutland Company, 5th Regiment. The troops also marched to a well fortified encampment of the enemy. He was also in battle, men killed and wounded and the troops had difficulties with moving the artillery as the ground is march and swamp.

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                Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                Date:  1862-04-18

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Writing after a battle near Yorktown, Towle recalls those wounded and killed. States preparations continue to be made for more fighting, that provisions for the men sometimes are difficult to get, that Col Stoughton performs admirably but that General Smith was drunk and has been arrested .

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                  Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                  Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                  Date:  1862-06-08

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Writing seven miles from Richmond, Virginia topics include the mention of the Chickahominy River, a prediction of a battle and a description of skirmishes.

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                    Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                    Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                    Date:  1862-06-26

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Towle writes of what he hears about the living conditions of the Rebels including forced service, some without enough food and about the Battle of Richmond having been going on for a month with artillery shelling and likely to continue.

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                      Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Parents and Friends

                      Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                      Date:  1862-05-23

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include Towle’s not receiving wages, the high prices of food, poverty in camp, the destruction of the countryside by the Rebels, how the Union soldiers are forbidden to even touch any property, the movement of the regiment in Virginia, and the attitude of the slaves towards the Yankees.

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                        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                        Date:  1862-01-11

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Towle writes from his Virginia camp to his parents about drill, military life, resignation of officers due to being unfit physically or mentally, of still needing new boots, illness, and his positive opinion of Colonel Stoughton.

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                          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                          Date:  1862-02-05

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Towle responds to his parents' letter that expresses low morale at home, financial difficulties at home and Towle encourages the doing without luxuries on the home front as much as possible. He writes of a 30 hour picket trip, the capture of rebel two scouts, drills being only two a day and of a self inflicted wounding of a Union soldier requiring amputation of the wounded soldier's leg.

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                            Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                            Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                            Date:  1862-02-23

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include a Brigade Parade and a farewell address of Washington, he relates some of the soldiers opinions and predictions that the war will end in three weeks. Mention of 109 six mule teams passing through his camp; exact purpose unknown.

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                              Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                              Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                              Date:  1862-02-27

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              A brief letter to his parents from Camp Griffin in Virginia of marching orders with three days rations and the hope to encounter the Rebels. He makes a brief reference to Brigade surgeon Dr. Phelps. Towle expresses his dismay that the troops in the west are fighting and gaining glory while the army of the Potomac lays idle.

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                                Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                                Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                Date:  1862-03-29

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Writing from Newport News (Virginia?) topics include the journey from Alexandria to his new camp, mentions the destruction of Hampton, Va. by the Confederates, the "concentration of troops" for the possible purpose of advancing into Va. and the inefficiency of the Quarter Master resulting in the soldiers going hungry for a week. He makes reference to passing gun boats, gives a brief description and impression of the "renowned" Monitor (Ironclad) and Fort Monroe.

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                                  Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                                  Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                  Date:  1862-04-03

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Towle writes of orders received to march on Richmond, Virginia and of his many camp duties. He writes of soldiers letters being detained and of their camp being fired upon by the Rebels. No harm done.

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                                    Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Sebra Towle

                                    Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                    Date:  1862-01-05

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Towle writes from his Virginia camp to his mother about his thankfulness for the gift of a thick quilt. He writes in detail of boots he wants made, of his thoughts on what it would mean if there was an intervention of England, and his tent mates doing mundane domestic tasks of writing letters and mending clothing.

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                                      Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Sebra Towle

                                      Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                      Date:  1863-10-12

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Writes of receiving a welcomed letter from his mother making him feel as if he is at home with her in a conversation. Some of the men from the hospital are going out to gather chestnuts, he is not able to go as he is confined at the hospital due to wounds. States he suffers from diarrhea from time to time. Speaks of food available (meat, bread, milk, apples).

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                                        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Sister and Friends

                                        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                        Date:  1862-05-15

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        From camp in Whitehouse Landing, Va. topics include the destruction of the Merrimac (the ironclad warship), a bear hunt, the occupation of Norfolk, Virginia troops under the command of President Lincoln, a description of skirmishes with the Rebels, and the warm weather in Virginia.

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                                          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Sister and Friends

                                          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                          Date:  1862-06-22

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Camping in the field near Richmond topics include the weather in Virginia with food crops growing well in the hot temperatures, pickets conversing and trading papers, coffee, whiskey, fighting resulting in losses, reference to Rifle Pits, preparations for the Battle of Richmond, sickness among the soldiers.

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                                            Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

                                            Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                            Date:  1862-05-08

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Towle's regiment pursues the Rebels after finding their hasty departure from their camps. The men marched to the enemy's strong holds at Williamsburg, Virginia including Fort Magruder and a battle was fought. Killed and wounded reported. Soldiers had to endure heavy rain and muddy conditions. Some men did reconnaissance.

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                                              Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

                                              Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                              Date:  1862-06-03

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Writing from in the field near Richmond, Va. topics include a detailed description of Company E at Lees Mills and speaks well of officers (Pingree, Terry). He criticizes a fellow soldier for shirking duty and writes of fighting of the the union and rebel batteries.

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                                                Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

                                                Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                                Date:  1862-06-10

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Writing seven miles from Richmond topics include packing up camp and marching at 10pm, a terrible rain storm that soaked the men, of sick soldiers including Towle.

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                                                  Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

                                                  Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                                  Date:  1862-06-14

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Still in the field near Richmond, Va topics include the Battle of Richmond being fought since May 31, soldiers wounded and killed by Rebel fire, shell fire by the Rebels, balloon reconnaissance.

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