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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: ("Battle casualties") remove term

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Title:   Hiram H. Barton to [Melissa Barton]

Creator:  Barton, Hiram H., 1836-1903

Date:  1862-09-11

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the journey from Harrisons Landing to Fort Monroe, a fight at Bulls Run (aka 2nd Manassas), and the deaths of Thomas Covil and Lyman Morhouse.

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    Title:   Horatio P. Bruce to Smiley Bancroft

    Creator:  Bruce, Horatio P.,

    Date:  1862-06-26

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include the death of Charles Bancroft from typhoid fever, the sickness of other men in the company, and that the fall of Richmond will bring the war to an end. Like many other writers, he refers to McClellan's reluctance to deploy his massive army.

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      Title:   Ira A. Marshall to William Wirt Henry

      Creator:  Marshall, Ira A., d. 1893

      Date:  1862-05-13

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include recent battles in Yorktown and Williamsburg, which had significant casualties; the destruction of the C.S.S. Merrimack off the coast of Norfolk, Va., now under Union occupation. McClellan will likely send Vt. troops home once Richmond is taken. Ill soldier Tilton Sleeper mentioned again.

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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 W. Merriam to Friend Samantha

          Creator:  Merriam, John W., d. 1863

          Date:  1862-09-04

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Writing from Algiers, La. topics include the false report of Justus's death and an attack by 1500 Rebels on a train leaving Desallemands and heading for Algiers that left 30 to 40 soldiers wounded or killed.

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            Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

            Date:  1863-10-22

            Resource type:   correspondence

            From Catlett's Station, Virginia on the Orange & Alexandria Rail Road, Virginia topics include a description of a battle with Stuart's men near the Bull Run location in which the Union was victorious, many killed, wounded, artillery captured, wrote the newspapers were mistaken as to the outcome of the battle, his cost of living, high cost of food, glad for the comfort of Rutherford’s family at home, and marching to continue.

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              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

              Date:  1863-11-03

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include references to folks at home and their improved health, of not minding having his letters read to others, brief reference to a battle at Briston Station (Manassas plains), Dr. Childe's sister has a book for Rutherford's daughter Helen, a brief description of a battle and how the wounded men were treated including Rutherford's decisions to not amputate limbs and the recovered heath of those soldiers who were spared the surgery.

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                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                Date:  1863-05-04

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include getting paid so as to make payment on their new house, $500 sent home, wishing to have a photograph of the finished house sent to him, having a pleasant lifestyle in camp with visits with other officers, a trip to Washington to purchase medicine, how fat J. C. Rutherford has grown, suggestions for his wife to have a garden, and war news conflicting but evidence of a lot of fighting because of the number wounded arriving at City Hospitals .

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                  Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                  Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                  Date:  1863-05-13

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include the rainy weather, traveling to Washington to help at the Campbell Hospital, attending the many wounded, their fortitude in their suffering, their injuries and the mens' gratitude for medical attention, having Surgeon's duties but not necessarily the pay to go with it, the honor associated with any position in the army to make up the difference, and instructions to his wife to secure housing for herself and the children above all else.

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                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                    Date:  1863-07-17

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Brief letter to friend Homer White (of New York City) informing him of Spafford's soon discharge from the army, heading to New York, the heavy losses at Gettysburg with those killed & wounded, opinions of newspaper editors.

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                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                      Date:  1862-12-13

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Writing from Company E. 16th Vt. Picket Reserve, Centerville Virginia, topics include the regiment marching to Fairfax Court House, Virginia, the picket line out on battlefield of Second Battle of Bull Run, battle casualties observed including those of horses and that of a man's head.

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                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                        Date:  1862-12-18

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Writing from camp near Fairfax Court House, Virginia topics include a description of what picket duty entails, an account of the people Joseph Spafford met in Virginia including two families with very different attitudes towards the Northern soldiers. Writes of dining with one family who also had been given the responsibility of keep a dead Confederate officer in a metal lined coffin in their shed, of observing battle remains at the Bull Run site and of picking up bullets, etc from there, the ill health of Ed Hammond, the decision to remain at Camp Vermont and a brief reference to gunfire heard near Fredericksburg.

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                          Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                          Date:  1862-05-22

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include trying to figure out where letters may have gone missing, letters taking several weeks to arrive, not receiving the Green Mountain Freeman, the lack of details about the taking of New Orleans, and Justus Gale being on guard last night.

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                            Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Parents

                            Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                            Date:  1862-07-06

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include a retreat to the James River (known later as a "great skedaddle," a word that Williams uses here but in the context of not being paid), a fight at Savage's Station, a review by General McClellan, and the men killed and wounded in the fight.

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                              Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Warren Williams

                              Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                              Date:  1862-04-20

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include Lyman Williams coming down with a fever, an encounter with the rebels that left four men wounded, and the rebels' description of the Vermont regiment as dare devils. Stationery has an illustration of a "Vermont Boy," plus two verses of a song with the title "Vermont Soldier." The refrain, "Away down in Dixie," suggests an attempt to compete with the immortal southern song "Dixie."

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                                Title:   Mary E. Farnham to Henry

                                Creator:  Farnham, Mary E.

                                Date:  1862-12-24

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Mary Farnham writes from near Fairfax Court House in Virginia to her brother, Henry, of soldiers being taken prisoners, of the wounded, of casualties, of checking rabbit traps for food. She mentions the weather, of her tour of camp, of sickness among the troops, of her excellent dinner at camp with Mrs. Blunt, Mrs. Stearns and others, and writes of family back home.

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                                  Title:   Merrill F. Samson to A. Hayward

                                  Creator:  Samson, Merrill F.

                                  Date:  1862-07-18

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include the death of Wilder; and his friend Merrill sending condolences to Wilder's mother. Wilder may have died during the Battle of Malvern Hill, which concluded the Seven Days Campaign; or in any number of skirmishes that occurred in early July.

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                                    Title:   Orlando S. Turner to Joseph and Louisa A. Turner

                                    Creator:  Turner, Orlando S., b. 1839

                                    Date:  1861-07-26

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include a brief account of the first Battle of Bull Run, Manassas, Virginia. Writes of the bravery of the soldiers, casualties and men killed, of his opinion that the officers were afraid to go where the soldiers were, damage to the American flag.

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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:  1862-06-26

                                          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 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:  1862-06-14

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

                                                  Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                                  Date:  1862-06-19

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include the Massachusetts 16th Regiment pushing the rebels back in heavy fighting with the Rebels in rifle pits, soldiers killed (74), prisoners taken (16) and preparations being made to move out in anticipation of battle the next day.

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