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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: ("United StatesArmy Military life") remove term  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:  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:  1861-09-2?

      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:  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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          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

          Date:  1862-04-16

          Resource type:   correspondence

          A brief writing from Mansion House Hospital include possibility of getting a furlough and an incident at Yorktown with one soldier from the 4th Vermont being wounded slightly and a rebel soldier being "keeled" over.

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            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

            Date:  1862-01-06

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Written to his sister from his camp in Virginia, topics include inquiring after news from home, a possible visit by his father, cold weather, boxes of bedding sent by the towns of Weathersfield and Windham, and sending hats home so folks can see them.

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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:  1862-01-21

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Spafford writes from Camp Griffin, Virginia on topics including the difficulty in getting a furlough, mud and rain, arrival of a New York regiment and their drunkeness because of the mud, a woman living in camp that came with the New York regiment, camp life, and asking for news from home.

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                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                  Date:  1862-03-30

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Still writing from the Mansion House Hospital, topics include listening to the rattling of the soldiers' swords as they pass on the sidewalk outside the hospital, commenting on the number of regiments going down the river, and news of home.

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                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                    Date:  1862-04-02

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Spafford continues to write from the Mansion House Hospital on topics that include worrying about his mother’s health, difficulty of getting a furlough, commenting on his preference to be a 2nd lieutenant and not a captain, detailed description of a day in the hospital, rules posted in the hospital, a dialogue he had with a drunken soldier from a California regiment, and description of a visit by a Vermonter from Windsor.

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                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                      Date:  1862-04-20

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Writing from the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia a very brief note to his sister of leaving for Washington and not for her to write to him again at this address.

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                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                        Date:  [1862]-10-24

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Writing from Brattleboro topics include George deciding to joint the regiment, Joseph Spafford receiving his payment, and the mustering of the regiment.

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                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                          Date:  1862-10-26

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Writing en route, topics include a description of the journey to Washington on the “Elm City” train, his deep desire for letters from home and an undercurrent of his willingness to accept how things are.

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                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                            Date:  1861-10-8

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Writes of good postal service on letter delivery, of Sargent Charley Reed, of Captain Altherton, of wanting a photograph of Homer, general good health of the men, a heavy rain storm that flooded his tent, of going out on Battalion drill.

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                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                              Date:  1861-10-30

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              October 30, 1861. Topics include the postponement of a review of the Army of the Potomac, the numerous regiments at Camp Griffin, Virginia, a prediction of a move to Vienna after a naval strike, requests for stocking yarn, sealing wax and two sealing stamps, a daguerreotype photographer to travel with the regiment, mentions pay, the need to purchase shoes, going to the sutler for butter, general health of the men, praises the surgeon,

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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:  1861-11-10

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writes of how a box can be sent, desire for larger size boots, stockings, apples, Meerschaumn pipe

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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:  1862-01-02

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Written to his sister from his Virginia camp, topic include politics of promotion and his chances of getting promoted, theft in the Regiments, photographs, and the opium habit of an unnamed soldier from Jamaica, Vermont.

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                                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                        Date:  1861-12-15

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include winter quarters in a pine woods, officers to have log cabins, he using the Captain's tent with plenty of bed clothes, inquiries about home, seeks opinion of the war from home, sending hard crackers home, poor writing ink.

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  1862-03-06

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Spafford writes of difficulty of getting postage stamps in the correct amount needed to mail letters home and that the prepared rations ordered for possible march on Feb 27th were consumed in camp.

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                                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                            Date:  1862-04-11

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            A very brief letter tells his sister not to write as he will be leaving the Mansion House Hospital for Washington.

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                                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                              Date:  1862-11-01

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include setting up camp on Capitol Hill, the uncertainty of when the regiment will march, homeless orphan white boys asking and being allowed to go along with the soldiers, one of the boys going with Spafford and Spafford’s good health.

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                                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                Date:  1862-11-06

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include the arrival of George, the movement of the regiment to Camp Vermont near Alexandria, Virginia, having only two dollars in pocket and hoping pay comes soon.

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                                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                  Date:  1862-11-09

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Writing from Camp Seward near Alexandria, Virginia, topics include a copy of Joseph Spafford’s accounts of camp life from October 24th until November 9th, 1862 with a note that he burns the letters he receives. Writes about tents, gunfire heard from a battle a distance away, on leave to visit Washington, D.C., liking his boy Daniel McAuliffe age 13 and wanting to take him with him to Vermont when the 9 months are up.

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