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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:   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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                        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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                                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                Date:  1863-06-19

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Reflections on the dead in war soon forgotten, of graves (many unmarked) to be found where camped, of so many families never knowing what happened to their loved ones, of seeing the exposed bodies of dead soldiers in the Bull Run battlefield on a recent visit there, of 2nd Vt soldiers who died there all buried in a single trench, of hardships soldiers endure on the march & in camp & how folks at home know little or nothing about it.

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                                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                  Date:  1863-06-10

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Train arriving from Rappahannock with wounded soldiers & rebel prisoners from fight at Brandy Station on June 9 between Confederate Major General J. E. B. Stuart & Union Gen. Alfred Pleasanton [part of the Gettysburg Campaign], reference to Rebel military tatic regarding Vicksburgh and Fredericksburgh, the examination of witnesses in regard to Lieutenant Hartshorn’s conduct, Captain Hazard being at Chantilly with his battery, money sent to Geo. Chamberlin

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