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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:   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:   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 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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                      Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                      Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                      Date:  1862-01-11

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Towle writes from his Virginia camp to his parents about drill, military life, resignation of officers due to being unfit physically or mentally, of still needing new boots, illness, and his positive opinion of Colonel Stoughton.

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                        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Sebra Towle

                        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                        Date:  1863-10-12

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Writes of receiving a welcomed letter from his mother making him feel as if he is at home with her in a conversation. Some of the men from the hospital are going out to gather chestnuts, he is not able to go as he is confined at the hospital due to wounds. States he suffers from diarrhea from time to time. Speaks of food available (meat, bread, milk, apples).

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

                          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                          Date:  1862-06-10

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Writing seven miles from Richmond topics include packing up camp and marching at 10pm, a terrible rain storm that soaked the men, of sick soldiers including Towle.

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                            Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                            Date:  1863-01-22

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Writing to sister Laura, topics include having to march to near Wolf Run Ford on the Occoquan River, Virginia, Farnham’s wife, Mary, staying at Mr. Whiley's, roads awful making the horses pull through fields and woods, troops carried their tents but the officers are waiting delivery of their tents, he now "at the front," rebel forces at Brentsville, explanation of what the pickets do and the death of Stratton of Fairlee of smallpox.

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                              Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                              Date:  1863-03-01

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Mentions an artist is taking some pictures of camp life (photos? or drawings?) promises to send sketches he has made of camp home, the sick in camp including Mary, William Wallace and his best horse, has purchased another horse and will fatten him up,marching orders having been given, Rebels at Leesburgh, Drainsville, Centreville & at Union Mills, brief references to Copperheads at home.

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                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                Date:  1863-03-15

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Another mention of the death of Cyrus Farnham, family financial issue addressed, reporting the death of four men in camp, $400 sent home and wishing Charlie Harding to acknowledge receipt.

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                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                  Date:  1863-01-21

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include camping near Wolf Creek, Virginia, bunking with a fellow officer, no tents yet delivered, shelter not water tight, horses out unprotected, the terrible roads due to rain and mud, Paymaster Holway expected soon with military pay for the Vermont troops, advice to wife Mary, who is planning on visiting to bring only one trunk with only essentials and to wear her boots as there is a lot of mud, brief reference to Kinepox (which is another name for small pox vaccine).

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                                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                    Date:  1861-05-24

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include being quartered with the Northfield Company and how the troops were greeted at Bellows Falls. One company member, the fifer, had the measles.

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                                      Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Laura]

                                      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                      Date:  1863-03-09

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the death of Cyrus Farnham from typhoid fever.

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                                        Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                        Date:  1863-05-24

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include small disturbances by the rebels nightly, men is danger of guerrilla warfare by the Rebels, the ill health of the 13th regiment, a lot of inquiries about folks at home, a reference to Mr. Bond and the garden, him wanting the front yard at home spruced up before he gets back home, again encourages his wife to drink porter and get fat as she only weighs 104 pounds.

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                                          Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                          Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                          Date:  1861-05-13

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Farnham is writing from the SS Alabama after arriving safely off the coast of Virginia, at Fort Monroe. Some men are sea-sick, and another has measles. Company was greeted with three cheers by sailors passing by. Farnham called on again to be adjutant because of his demonstrated leadership skills. A few words about friends and acquaintances seen in New York, one being a secessionist.

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                                            Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                            Date:  1861-06-09

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include the duties of Provost Marshall, including the reception of runaway slaves. Mentions alerts for battle and false alarms; and illness within the regiment.

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                                              Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                              Date:  1862-11-09

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Farnham writes from nearby Hunting Creek, Virginia at the headquarters of the 12th Vermont Volunteers about the cold weather in the South, eleven sick in the hospital, two of which had shot themselves. Reference made to Gen. McClellan being superseded by Gen. Burnside.

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                                                Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                                Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                Date:  1863-02-22

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                His medicinal use of alcohol, the bitter weather, a practical joke he played on Lieutenant Erastus W. Jewett and the uses of humor, singing (Brave Boys are they) and other entertainments, his conversation with a Rebel prisoner about allegiance to the U.S., his worries about the news of small pox back home in Swanton.

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                                                  Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                  Date:  1863-02-25

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include the execution of many deserters via orders of Gen Hooker, small pox at Camp Douglas with Barney taking the vaccine against the disease, celebrating George Washington’s birthday, rebels taking the oath of allegiance, the passage of the draft bill with an expectation that many will leave for Canada.

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