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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: ("Diseases") remove term

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Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

Date:  1862-03-25

Resource type:   correspondence

Writing from the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria VA, topics include difficulty in getting a furlough at the present time, illness among others at the hospital from the Regiment, and the keeping and responsibility of using the Company's money for needed purchases for the men.

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    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

    Date:  1862-05-14

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include waiting for his military discharge papers, his plans for returning to Vermont, and his plan to travel with Sergeant Peabody of the 2nd Vermont.

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      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

      Date:  1862-12-23

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include a hard battle and defeat at Fredericksburg, the death of S. E. Connor from pneumonia, his opinion of how the war is conducted, the illness of two of the officers, of having the Commissary Sergeant among them with the result living conditions are good.

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        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

        Date:  1863-01-19

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include the 16th Vermont Regiment and whole Brigade moving to Occoquan and Wolf Run, the measles going around the regiment, looking forward to marching as the weather is good, states many soldiers have deserted, the government not paying the soldiers, officers having to buy their own outfits, writes again about whether or not to have a box of goods sent to him.

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          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

          Date:  1863-02-21

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include how often to write, of not getting a letter Mary Jane says she wrote, the snowy and rainy weather, Williams and the Captains poor health, a trip to Washington, Joseph’s clothing, the resignation of the 2nd Lieutenant of Company F, and Joseph’s good health.

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            Title:   Justus F. Gale to Brother

            Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

            Date:  1862-02-07

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Writing from Brattleboro, Vermont, topics include news of bombardment of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River (February 6, 1862) by Commodore Andrew Hull Foote (officer of the U.S. Navy) and General Ulysses S. Grant, a skirmish that resulted in finding a barrel of rum, food sometimes good but not the hash made in camp and the vaccination of the company for pox.

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              Title:   Justus F. Gale to Brother

              Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

              Date:  1862-08-01

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include the sickness and deaths in the regiment including that of Lucias M Benson of Worcester from diphtheria whom Gale was caring for in the hospital, inquiries about home and family members, the lack of news from Richmond, and the hot weather in Algiers.

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                Title:   Justus F. Gale to Family

                Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                Date:  1862-07-24

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include the sickness and deaths in the regiment due to Typhoid Fever and poor water, a report that Vicksburg was burned, and the call for the 11th and 12th regiments from Vermont.

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                  Title:   Justus F. Gale to Father

                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                  Date:  1862-07-10

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include the medicating himself after seeing the doctor twice to rid his diarrhea, taking of Richmond and rebel prisoners, the weather in Algiers, high price of provisions, inquires about family and the plan to go visit friends 4 miles away.

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                    Title:   Justus F. Gale to Father

                    Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                    Date:  1862-08-08

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the good health of Justus Gale, a description of the land in Algiers including deep mud, swamp and tall grasses, and the sickness in the regiment.

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                      Title:   Justus F. Gale to Mother

                      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                      Date:  1863-08-21

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      In this letter Gale writes to his mother from the Church Hospital in Baton Rouge that he has been ill but is getting better. He has been eating a little. He and his unit had been "beseigeing" Port Hudson just before he was taken ill. He also writes that he never really suffered while soldiering, and that he is sorry his brother, Lyman, has been drafted, since he doesn’t think he could stand army life. Some time after this, Gale was sent to the U.S. General Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where he died of chronic diarrhea on September 19, 1863.

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                        Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                        Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                        Date:  1862-01-11

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include the snow at Camp Holbrook, St. Albans, the living arrangements, the 25 men sick with the measles, and the move to Ship Island in 2 or 3 weeks.

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                          Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                          Date:  1862-07-18

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include the good health of Justus Gale, the food available at Algiers including confiscated beef from the locals, standing guard for 12 hour shifts, killing alligators, writes of some of his comrades, the sickness of Sargent 2nd Class.Chas. C. Martin with inflammation of the bowels, the capture of Richmond and Vicksburg, mentions Confederate Gen. G. T. Beauregard, receiving a copy of the Green Mountain Freeman and refers to his religious faith.

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                            Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                            Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                            Date:  1862-04-21

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include the improvement in Justus Gale's health, the cost of food items in camp, the death of three men in the regiment, the attempted suicide of a man in Company F, mentions "sugar place" back home in Elmore and writes about the lack of information in camp about the rest of the Union Army.

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                              Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                              Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                              Date:  1863-08-02

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Gale writes about having a relapse of fever after working two weeks supplying the contrabands, and being sent to a hospital in Baton Rouge. He also writes with news of his fellow soldier, Wesley (John Wesley Merriam) who is with him at the hospital. As well, he reports eating custard for dinner.

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                                Title:   Letter to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                                Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                Date:  1861-11-25

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                From Camp Griffen, Va. Topics include the health of the regiment (measles, Typhoid fever), requests for food, tea, clothing and the cold weather.

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                                  Title:   Letter to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                                  Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                  Date:  1861-12-29

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  December 29, 1861. Topics include the health of the regiment in the cold weather (rheumatism, boils, homesickness), camp inspection, lack of presence of Chaplain except at religious services, and the prospect of battle.

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                                    Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Caroline Williams

                                    Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                    Date:  1861-11-16

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include the comforts of camp life.

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                                      Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                      Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                      Date:  1862-01-29

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the sick in Essex and at camp, the knee deep mud, and Lyman Williams' plan to send money home.

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                                        Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                        Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                        Date:  1864-02-14

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Writes of returning to the regiment after a visit home, the warm welcome of his fellow soldiers and the visits he received, how lonesome he feels for his family, and how grateful he is to the kindness shown by his family to Mary Gorton, now Mary Williams. He also writes of a case of measles in the regiment.

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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:   Ransom W. Towle to Family

                                            Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                            Date:  [1862]-01-20

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Towle writes from his Virginia camp to his parents and sister on the mud while out on picket duty, fearfulness of some of the soldiers, list of items to send from home including a reference to his much needed new boots, sickness and deaths in the Regiment, and news of the Rochester boys.

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                                              Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                                              Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                              Date:  1862-02-17

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include Towle’s sickness Saturday night, of illness and death within the company and regiment, praise for officer Lieut. Pingree, reference to rumor of the capture of Savannah (does he refer to Georgia?), and a brief reference to the possible firing of guns at Fort Ethan Allen for some victory somewhere.

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                                                Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                                                Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                                Date:  1861-02-27

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Writing from his Virgina camp Griffin, Towle gives a description of a Battalion Drill and the ill health effects on the soldiers, of a gale storm damaging tents and overturning an ambulance with a sick soldier inside. He writes of orders from General McClellan to be ready to move, and states men are sick and death count to date for his regiment is 66.

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                                                  Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                                                  Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                                  Date:  [1862]-03-05

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  From Camp Griffin, Towle writes of a brigade and bayonet drill, the increasing number of sick men with the death count for the regiment at 77, and of the monotony of camp life.

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