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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:    Genre: ("correspondence") remove term  Topic: ("Diseases") remove term

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Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

Date:  1863-09-20

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include thankful for getting postage stamps from home, gives treatment for diphtheria, remarks regarding the importance of letter writing, his rail against his wife's relatives for indignities he has suffered from them, well digging at home, reference to "Copperheads," his reaction and outrage to a vote related to the war taken at a town meeting as reported in a home newspaper (Newport News?), his urging to have the vote reversed, his permission to have part of his opinion published in the newspaper if seen fit and a description of the line of battle.

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    Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

    Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

    Date:  1863-09-27

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include receiving postage stamp requested, criticism of a doctor named Patch for his incompetence, the expectation of a big battle but not having it yet, a social visit with Captain Bartlett, his concern for the large number of sick men in the other regiments stationed next to his while his regiment is healthier and of writing a report regarding this concern to the Surgeon in Chief of the Army.

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      Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

      Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

      Date:  1863-12-?

      Resource type:   correspondence

      From Brandy Station, Virginia topics include Rutherford contracting a condition through a cut in his thumb by dressing a man's arm who had Erycipelas (an infectious disease evidenced by a deep red inflammation of the skin). Rutherford acknowledges his carelessness and was aware of how germs and bacteria can spread from person to person, of his near misses of being wounded in battle, of standing ready to march and of receiving letters from daughter Helen.

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        Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

        Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

        Date:  1863-12-12

        Resource type:   correspondence

        From Brandy Station, Virginia Rutherford writes of his swollen left hand due to infection resulting in his whole body having tremors and shooting pains, taking a dose of morphine, the rainy weather, winter quarters being built, of Chaplain offering to help erect Rutherford's cabin, his dedication to duty for the wounded and the approaching of Christmas.

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          Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

          Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

          Date:  1863-04-20

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Writing from a different camp, Heintzelman some 2 miles from Poolesville, topics include being put upon and over burdened with duties that put him in a bad mood that he had an unpleasant interaction with the Quartermaster, being put in charge of the Brigade Hospital, and recommended treatment for scarlet fever requested by his wife in case the children come down with the disease.

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            Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

            Date:  1862-09-28

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Rutherford writes of the illness of the his assistant surgeon, Dr. Clarke, of his own excellent health, and all he is enjoying at camp including a hive of bees. He writes of fresh meat, fowl and fruit available to eat, of a companion dog and of his horse he admires so much. He speaks of the difference in military medical care of the soldiers and notes how the care results in more or fewer sick soldiers and of deaths.

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              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

              Date:  1862-08-31

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Dr. Rutherford writes from Camp Washburn about his improved health from the dysentery from which he has suffered, medicine he took, his heavy responsibilities caring for sick soldiers, and anticipation of leaving for Virginia on Friday. He writes of missing home.

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                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                Date:  1862-11-05

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Dr. Rutherford writes of a battle near Leesburgh some 14 miles from the camp near Seneca Creek (Maryland?) the outcome of which is not known, of the filthy condition of some of the soldiers, of an epidemic of Typhoid fever with the loss of over a dozen men to the illness. He writes of his winter living accommodations of which he is very happy and mentions "Mose the Moor", the runaway black slave boy who tends to him. Also writes of a review from the Brigadier General, and the health of Rutherford’s family.

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                  Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                  Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                  Date:  1862-08-27

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  The surgeon writes from Camp Washburn about being infected with dysentery, the regiment being mustered on Thursday, and a visit from the Governor and the Governor's son.

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                    Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                    Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                    Date:  1862-10-07

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Rutherford writes to his wife, Hannah, about life in camp along the Potomac River. Many soldiers have fevers, his assistant surgeon is ill but he continues to keep up with all the work needing to be done. He writes of a 17 year old male runaway slave named Moses, who takes care of him and his horse, Lady Lightfoot and complains of how slow the mail is.

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                      Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                      Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                      Date:  1862-12-06

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Rutherford writes a description of Thanksgiving dinner in camp prepared with the help of the officers' wives, a reference to John Piper his "orderly", of soldiers plans to steal a gun from a neighboring farmer in order to get some turkeys and chickens for the holiday meal, of their arrest, the unpleasant weather, of Rutherford being jaundice and of his black boy Moses being sick and likely to die.

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                        Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                        Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                        Date:  1862-11-25

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include the possibility of action, ammunition and the mini ball, of high morale among the soldiers, of John Piper being described as the best marksman and now being Rutherford's body guard, an order from the War Department for Surgeons to remove themselves from action as much as possible, a case of Typhoid and the improbability of Rutherford taking a leave of absence at this time.

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                          Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                          Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                          Date:  1863-01-20

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Writes of medical treatment for diphtheria if his children ever come down with the illness, a possible leave of absence for Dr. Willard Augustus Childe as he has been in service for 20 months without one, expresses his anger at criticism from folks back home about what the military ought to be doing and states the need for the Union to conquer the South.

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                            Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                            Date:  1863-03-02

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include the failure to receive a leave of absence, not wishing to pay any old debts, a close call with Major White's brigade near Leesburgh, and a journey to Portsville (Poolesville??), saw a sham fight (war game?) in which his mare performed splendidly, his health is good but smallpox in the brigade with a request for his wife to save the scabs from his children's arms so that he may have matter for vaccine.

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                              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                              Date:  1863-03-31

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include ways to help deal with small pox and keeping the face from pitting, how Rutherford entertains himself in camp that includes reading, writing and playing card game Euchre, the treatment of a secessionist, Mr. Trundle, for erysipelas (infection and redness of the skin) with the result that Rutherford is even more well respected by fellow officers, meeting Dr. Willard Augustus Childe's new wife, reference to a black regiment.

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                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                Date:  1862-02-07

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Spafford writes to his friend Homer on topics including Typhoid Fever in the Regiment, friendship, camp life, Hancock’s Brigade [Winfield Scott Hancock], and answering his friend’s questions about joining the Regiment and fear of dying.

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                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                  Date:  1863-01-19

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include the 16th Vermont Regiment and whole Brigade moving to Occoquan and Wolf Run, the measles going around the regiment, looking forward to marching as the weather is good, states many soldiers have deserted, the government not paying the soldiers, officers having to buy their own outfits, writes again about whether or not to have a box of goods sent to him.

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                                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                    Date:  1863-02-21

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include how often to write, of not getting a letter Mary Jane says she wrote, the snowy and rainy weather, Williams and the Captains poor health, a trip to Washington, Joseph’s clothing, the resignation of the 2nd Lieutenant of Company F, and Joseph’s good health.

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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:  1862-01-15

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Written to his sister from his camp in Virginia, topics include description of a large foraging expedition, getting mumps, and rumors about Captain Henry B. Atherton.

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  1861-11-04

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include Battalion and Regiment drills, having had a photograph taken of him, arrangements for Joseph Spafford's mother and sister to send him items and food from home, has received gloves from home, getting writing materials from the sutler, illness among the men, death from disease, personal family matter, wants lyrics sent to the song "Rock me to sleep".

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                                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                            Date:  1861-12-19

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include the arrival of a box from Weathersfield containing bedding, stockings, mittens, discussion of who is most likely to get promotions, illness among the men including hernias, heart and consumption, .

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                                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                              Date:  1862-01-28

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              A very brief letter mentions continued rainy weather and deep mud; also a comrade has typhoid fever and not expected to live.

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                                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                Date:  1862-03-25

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Writing from the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria VA, topics include difficulty in getting a furlough at the present time, illness among others at the hospital from the Regiment, and the keeping and responsibility of using the Company's money for needed purchases for the men.

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                                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                  Date:  1862-01-26

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include resignation of officers and promotions of new officers, pay, visiting the 3rd Vermont, sickness in the Regiment, getting vaccinated for small pox, and rumors of marching orders.

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