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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:   Henry Harrison Wilder to Mother

Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

Date:  1862-06-11

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include clarifying things that were written home about Merrill, what Wilder will do once he leaves the army alive, and a man named Damon Hunter returning home after having his leg amputated. One Civil War chronology notes on this date "little or no action on the main front in Virginia along the Chickahominy."

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    Title:   Hiram H. Barton to Melissa Barton

    Creator:  Barton, Hiram H., 1836-1903

    Date:  1863-06-23

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Writing from Camp Gray in Plymouth, North Carolina Barton speaks of white and black North Carolinians coming in to Union lines to join the Union Army, of the brogue they speak, of the sights he has seen in battle, his dislike of army life, particularly the killing. Writes of rumors about Vicksburg and what it would mean for the Union cause if it is taken.

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      Title:   Hiram H. Barton to Melissa Barton

      Creator:  Barton, Hiram H., 1836-1903

      Date:  1864-07-08

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Hiram Barton writes of an attack on the Union works by a Confederate Brigade at the Seige of Petersburg on June 24th. He also writes of the danger of raising one’s head above the breast works during the day, and of the soldiers killed. As well he writes of the heat and how exhausted the men are after spending two or three days in the trenchs.

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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 Newport Express

                  Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                  Date:  1865-03-27

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Letter to the Newport Express newspaper that includes a description of a battle near Petersburg, Virginia (part of the Richmond - Petersburg Campaign) in which many were killed or captured ; number to casualties and prisoners captured stated.

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                    Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                    Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                    Date:  1864-05-17

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the 10th Regiment's continual advancing along the front lines, reference to Battle of Spotsylvania with thousands killed and wounded (May 12th), discussion about future battles, Rebel sharpshooters & Rutherford’s desire to shoot one, mentions his horse, Lady Lightfoot, suffers a superficial wound.

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                      Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                      Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                      Date:  1864-11-15

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include description troop formations and breast work fortifications, of the ten-mile line of troops, desire to build shelter for winter but uncertain weather there will be another relocating march, his feelings about a cavalry promotion, and discussion over the location of a soldier's body and burial site; the visit from a wounded soldier's wife about her husband's health after Rutherford amputated his arm (Battle of Cedar Creek, Oct 19).

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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 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 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:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                        Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                        Date:  1863-05-01

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Gale writes a long description of his company’s role in the Battle of Fort Bisland on April 12th and 13th, and is pleased by General Banks’ praise of the performance of the 8th Vermont Regiment. He also writes of his pleasure at receiving a photograph of Emily Taft of Barre, and his wish that he could have photographs of all his family, though he would be unable to carry them all in his wallet. As well, he writes of picking up Confederate money from a house that was abandoned before the advance of the “damd yankees” and of seeing rich clothing that he wished he could send home.

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                                          Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                          Date:  1863-06-19

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Gale writes of the second assault on Port Hudson on June 14th, describing the rough ground they had to cover to get in range, and the number of killed and wounded in the regiment. He also comments that on the day his mother traveled to Morrisville, he was out hunting “graybacks,” and that while some complain of the conditions in the army, they are the ones who hadn’t been “weaned” yet.

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                                            Title:   Lyman Barton to Hiram Barton

                                            Creator:  Barton, Lyman, 1839-1936

                                            Date:  1864-03-08

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Lyman Barton mentions an attack on his Brigade at Deep Creek, Virginia and the death of two men from the 9th New Jersey Regiment who had just returned from a furlough. He also writes of men returning to the 8th Connecticut Regiment after their reenlistment furlough, who had second thoughts about reenlisting. Also he writes of how many got married while on leave. At the end of the letter he gives news of his brothers Henry, James and Theodore and their addresses.

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                                              Title:   Lyman Barton to Hiram Barton

                                              Creator:  Barton, Lyman, 1839-1936

                                              Date:  [1864-05]-17

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Lyman Barton writes of the events surrounding the Battle of Port Waltham Junction on May 6 and 7. He also lists some of the wounded and killed, including his brother, James Barton, who died of wounds received at the Battle of the Wilderness.

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                                                Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                                Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                                Date:  1863-06-10

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Regiment engaged the Rebels, gives a good account of the skirmish across the Rappahannock River with heavy gunfire that forced the Confederates to retreat ; gives casualties and wounded ; reference to Gen. Hooker not planning to engage the enemy at this location at the present time.

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                                                  Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                                  Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                                  Date:  1863-11-10

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Writes that the regiment has been on the move and has seen some fighting with the Rebels resulting in the capture of many Confederates, their officers and many weapons ; also reports Union losses at Rappahannock.

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