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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:    Topic: ("Armed Forces Officers") remove term

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Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

Date:  1861-11-29

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include Brig. Gen. John Wolcott Phelps' commanding Butler's New England Division and inviting Frederick Holbrook's son William to be his Aid-de-Camp. Mention of 7th Vermont Regiment (the old 1st reorganized) also being attached to Butler, of Lt. Roberts being given Colonelcy of the 7th, of Major Kimball of the New Jersey 9th for Lt. Col. of the 8th Regiment, reference to Thanksgiving Proclamation.

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    Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

    Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

    Date:  1862-03-06

    Resource type:   correspondence

    In his letter to General Phelps, Frederick Holbrook, Governor of Vermont (1861-1863), expresses his admiration for several Union officers from Vermont and his pride in the 8th Vt. Regiment. He informs the general that two infantry regiments and two artillery companies are ready to serve. (This is about one month before the Union attack on New Orleans, launched in part from Ship Island, just off the coast of Mississippi.) Holbrook explains that they would have been sent a month earlier "had Government been ready with funds." He looks forward to seeing Phelps again after the war.

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      Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

      Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

      Date:  1862-03-10

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Upbeat letter delivered to Gen. Phelps by the writer's son, William C. Holbrook, who apparently turned down an offer to join Phelps's staff. The writer, Gov. Holbrook, lavishes praise on Vermont officers and soldiers (including his son), and sends warm wishes for success to Phelps, sharing his conviction that "the Union Cause must triumph." Holbrook concludes with some reflections on the difficulty of being a wartime governor.

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        Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

        Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

        Date:  1862-07-27

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include the President calling for 300,000 additional troops, the wish that the National Government will develop a decisive policy to "proclaim war to the knife," and a description of Frederick Holbrook's son Major Will. Holbrook continues to express his admiration for Phelps and offer him greater forces to command.

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          Title:   Frederick Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

          Creator:  Holbrook, Frederick

          Date:  1862-08-08

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include Mrs. Holbrook requesting General Phelps to forward her letters to her son and Frederick Holbrook inquiring after the sick men and the number of surgeons. Holbrook expresses frustration that the Vt. Regiments (7th & 8th) are still not under Phelps's command, per an agreement with Gen. Butler. Holbrook also mentions Phelps's "Dark Brigade," black troops that Phelps recruited in Louisiana without permission from the War Dept. (Phelps resigned in Aug., 1862.)

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            Title:   George J. Stannard to William Wirt Henry

            Creator:  Stannard, George J., 1820-1886

            Date:  1862-01-07

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include inquiring after William Henry's health, the sickness in the regiment, and a brief description of drills and picket duty and makes mention of not being promoted, states Capt Dillingham to be promoted.

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              Title:   George W. Quimby to Emeline B. Masta

              Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

              Date:  1862-03-22

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include the anticipation of marching to Alexandria in just over a week’s time, the resignation of Captain Tucker, and the promotion of George W. Quimby to captaincy. Mentions the slow moving Grand Army of the Potomac and the feeling that it may never see any fighting.

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                Title:   George W. Quimby to Emeline B. Masta

                Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

                Date:  1862-02-10

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include descriptions of George W. Quimby’s superior officers, plus an incident that led to the arrest of a commanding officer, who was later exonerated.

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                  Title:   George W. Quimby to Emeline B. Masta

                  Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

                  Date:  1862-05-11

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include the hardships George W. Quimby is enduring, a brief account of fighting on the 6th of May (Battle of Williamsburg, Va.). Quimby describes "the horrid scenes of war": dead and dying soldiers in the aftermath of battle. Mentions generals Smith, Hancock, Sumner, Hooker, and Magruder.

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                    Title:   George W. Quimby to Parents

                    Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

                    Date:  1862-11-14

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include rumors of an upcoming march and the suspension of General McClellan. (Major Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside would assume command of the Army of the Potomac.) Quimby still hoping to receive a warm coat from home.

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                      Title:   George W. Quimby to Tucker

                      Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

                      Date:  1862-04-25

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include the location of the company and a brief account of the battle of Lee's Mill. Also a comment about one legislator "Morrels" (Justin Morrill?) stating that Gen. William Smith was drunk. A summary of promotions.

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                        Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

                        Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                        Date:  1862-04-20

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include the journey from Harpers Ferry to Newmarket, reference to General Banks division, detailed description of the suicide of Major Colins' Colonel, Michigan Calvary refusing to obey orders to charge the enemy, the Calvary rode away, mention of Lieut Col Kellogg and a Col Ashby, an encounter with the rebels that resulted in three rebel deaths and two rebel prisoners, getting pay.

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                          Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

                          Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                          Date:  1862-06-27

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include the journey from Williamsport to Snickers Ferry on the Shenandoah River, mentions by name men missing from the Company, mentions horses in battle, of his horse having had very little to eat, the rumor that General Pope is going to take control of the army, Gen. Fremont resigning, Gen. Banks to be Assistant Sec. of War, and the Quarter Master Old Jones & Lieutenant Grover's waiter being taken prisoners.

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                            Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

                            Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                            Date:  1862-07-05

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            From Snickers Ferry on the Shenandoah River topics include news from Richmond, rumor that Stonewall Jackson was killed, having enough to eat including local peaches & cherries found in Virginia, horses well fed, men on picket duty, newspaper report that General McClellan taken prisoner along with 40,000 of his men, and Henry Smith's homesickness.

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                              Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

                              Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                              Date:  1862-07-28

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              From Culpeper Court House (Virginia) topics include a list of regiments in the area including the 1st Vt, the hope that Captain Rundlett submits his resignation, the resignation of Colonel Kellogg, the acquiring of double barrel shotguns taken from the citizens, brief reference to Gen. McClellan and Gen. John Pope and the prediction that the war will not last much longer.

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                                Title:   Henry A. Smith to Mother

                                Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                                Date:  1862-09-14

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                A very brief letter from near Alexandria, Va. Topics include Henry Smith getting paid, the resignation of Colonel Tompki, General Blake returning home, a fellow soldier awaits court-martial.

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                                  Title:   Henry Harrison Wilder to Mother

                                  Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

                                  Date:  1862-05-07

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include a description of the Union Victory since that at Yorktown, which may include the Battle of Williamsburg (May 5, 1862).

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                                    Title:   Horace Henry Baxter to John Wolcott Phelps

                                    Creator:  Baxter, Horace Henry

                                    Date:  1861-05-31

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include potentially offering Colonel Phelps command of a three year regiment and inquiring how many horses are needed for his Regiment.

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                                      Title:   Ira A. Marshall to William Wirt Henry

                                      Creator:  Marshall, Ira A., d. 1893

                                      Date:  1862-06-08

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include camping at Harrison's Landing, Virginia on the James River, makes reference to regiments and companies losing men, the names of men wounded and their injuries in Company D, makes reference to a battle (maybe Battle of Seven Pines [Fair Oaks]??), several officers resigning, the high cost of food, and the slight sickness of Ira Marshall.

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                                        Title:   John L. T. Jones to William Wirt Henry

                                        Creator:  Jones, John L. T., d. 1883.

                                        Date:  1863-02-06

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Invitation to Colonel Henry to a dance & a glass of apple toddy, made by a Union supporter, John L. T. Jones. He also requests the presence of Dr. Joesph Chase Rutherford.

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                                          Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

                                          Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

                                          Date:  1863-04-22

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Writing laying on the ground from Opelousas La. topics include the regiment moving and having an exchange of fire with the rebels, at last receiving letters dated Feb 28th and Mar. 10th, he being a Captain must walk (not ride according to regulations), his feet now sore and blistered, the men who were wounded in this exchange, and the regiment's plan to go to the Red River to attack Port Hudson or Vicksburg, regrets the lack of writing paper and pen.

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                                            Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                                            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                                            Date:  1864-03-29

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            A down beat letter that includes the sickness of his children, reference to a newspaper article Rutherford wrote about an officer, rainy weather making him feel homesick and the death of Major Bartlett.

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                                              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                                              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                                              Date:  1864-04-25

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Rutherford is wax poetic in his writing of Spring weather in Virginia, discusses Hannah's previous letter disclosing her political opinions, offers up his him political views, states the resignation of Col. Jewett (Albert B. Jewett?) due to poor health, and the changes that come with new leadership.

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                                                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                                                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                                                Date:  1865-02-10

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include a meeting with Governor Smith to discuss the injustices Rutherford had been afforded previously, meeting with Mr. Baxter, escorting Ms. McDuffee to N.Y, and helping his brother with a printing press that he just got.

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                                                  Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                                                  Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                                                  Date:  1865-02-13

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include a long talk with Governor Smith, meeting and becoming acquainted with Major General Benjamin Henry Grierson (who lead Grierson's Raid ordered by Gen. Grant during the Vicksburg Campaign), and the entertaining manner in which they were introduced.

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