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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:   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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                            Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                            Date:  1863-06-15

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include telling of an incident with his horse, White Face, at Pope's Run on the railroad tracks with companion Nelson's horse falling resulting in Nelson landing in a stream below. Great excitement as a lot of troop movement reported. A train heading towards Centreville with forage and army wagons, the movement of Hooker’s army at Wolf Run & at Occoquan, Gen. Robert E. Lee moving to Shenandoah Valley (part of Gettysburg Campaign) & being outmaneuvered by Hooker and a brief description of sights seen at Bull Run battlefield with remains of dead soldiers still visible.

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                              Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                              Date:  1863-06-19

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include the location of some of the corps, seeing many men of the 6th Army Corps and listing their names, Vt Calvary has met Rebels, telling of Captain of Rhode Island regiment with heavy losses including the captain & his horse being wounded, the anticipation of some fighting, the possibility of moving to Wolf Run Shoals, two wives in camp (Mrs. Sherman & Mrs. Halley) & they not wanting to leave their soldier husbands, and the very hot weather.

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                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                Date:  1863-06-29

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Four brief letters telling of a 5th day of marching from Fredericksburg to Catoctin Furnace, lack of information to the men as to where they are going nor where Robert E. Lee is, Hooker believed to be relieved of his command, much rain, muddy roads, told they are on their way to Gettysburg. Letter of July 2nd tells of fighting on the way to Gettysburg, fresh chickens for food, General Reynolds reported killed on July 1.

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                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                  Date:  1863-05-04

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writing from Warrenton Junction, VA, on the railroad in an open field topics include marching from Wolf Run Shoals to Union Mills, then by train to Falmouth, writes of his horses Burnie and White Face, relates a fight with the men of John Singleton Mosby (nicknamed The Gray Ghost, a Confederate cavalry battalion commander) resulting in casualties, the capture and escape of Union soldiers, the killing of a Rebel spy, and the capture of a Rebel major, captain, and two lieutenants.

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                                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                    Date:  1863-07-04

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Two letters. One dated July 4th, the other July 5th give a description of the battle at Gettysburg, an account of those who were killed or wounded, and the expectation to be home soon.

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                                      Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                      Date:  1861-06-16

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include: gratitude among the men for gifts of food (incl. maple sugar) and other "luxuries"; Major Worthen's scouting expedition, which led to a small skirmish and some casualties among some St. Albans and Swanton soldiers; press inaccuracies; life at camp; how he misses his books and reading; other domestic matters.

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                                        Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                        Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                        Date:  1861-05-19

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include the regiment occupying the large Hygeia Hotel located outside the Fort Monroe on Old Point Comfort, the rules and costs of the hotel, Rebels firing on a steamer, 18 or 20 of the enemy killed, mentions vessels occupied by secessionists being captured and General Butler coming with either eight or ten thousand men to form an army.

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                                          Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                          Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                          Date:  1861-06-16

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          June 16, 1861. Barney writes from Newport News, Virginia an account of the Battle of Big Bethel including battle casualties, men sent out to look for cattle, illness among the men, soldiers tired to camp life, the arrival of food sent from home some of which was in good condition such as cheese, dried apples and maple sugar with some not.

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                                            Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                            Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                            Date:  [1861]-07-23

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include the plan for the journey home, the death of Whitney of the Woodstock Co. by the hands of forty or fifty rebels, the capture of two rebels, and of only a few men ill in the hospital.

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                                              Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                              Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                              Date:  [1861]-06-11

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Writes from Newport News, Va. on a battle between General Butler's men and a camp of secessionists at Bethel, battle casualties due to confusion among the soldiers and friendly fire, of missing men, thanks Maria for the postage stamps.

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                                                Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                                Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                Date:  [1861]-07-14

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include the dates in which Valentine G. Barney will head home, the arrival of a telegraph wire from Newport News to the fort which will help the officers communicate quickly, the meeting of scouting party with Secessionists, the death of at least one of them, of 10 Union soldiers being taken prisoners and the news that the Fort is ready for use.

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                                                  Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                  Date:  1862-12-18

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  From Camp Douglas topics include an update on the state of the regiment including men deserting, sick, discharged or joining the regular army, of sending photographs of Bushnell, Cleveland and of himself home to Maria, of Lt Sherman in camp, the loss of 13,000 Union men from Burnside’s army in recent battles, of thousands of paroled prisoners in Annapolis thus Barney needing to stay at camp through the holidays.

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