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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: ("Marching") remove term

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Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

Date:  1863-10-25

Resource type:   correspondence

Two letters dated Oct 25 and Oct 27 with topics including marching, waiting, more marching, more waiting, lack of food due to road conditions, unable to forage for food, hot days, cold nights, the importance of picket duty, the unpopularity of General William B. Franklin, and the army returning to New Iberia, fear that mail may be lost due to capture of wagons by Rebels and fear to send any money by mail.

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    Title:   John Lester Barstow to Laura

    Creator:  Barstow, John Lester, 1832-1913

    Date:  1864-01-10

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Detailed description of horrid wet, cold & muddy camp conditions in Louisiana, damage to military equipment, loss of horses & mules from marching in deep mud, African American man servants (aids) risking life and limb to cross river to aid soldiers crossing, pillaging of Southern sympathizer's property and livestock for use by the Union soldiers, papers accusing Gen. William B. Franklin of being a coward and half-traitor, crossing the Potomac to resupply.

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      Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

      Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

      Date:  1862-10-19

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Rutherford writes to wife, Hannnah,about the regiment's movement to his camp at Seneca Creek in Maryland. Topics include what was involved in the moving of the troops at night, the baggage he carried on horseback, his pride for his mare, of feeling proud to serve his country in time of need, of him being put in charge of building of a hospital to be named after him and called the Rutherford Hospital.

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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:  1864-07-14

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include an order to move with minimal rations.

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            Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

            Date:  1864-07-24

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Writing from Georgetown Heights, D.C. he tells of the regiment's march, towns they marched to (Poolsville, Luxbury, Winchester), expresses his fear more of capture than of being wounded, had an attack of dysentery and is recovering.

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              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

              Date:  1864-09-07

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Writes of special consideration for his medical care by Dr. Barr and Dr. Childe, of being having to go on a dangerous march, of the loss of his glasses, love of his family.

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                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                Date:  1864-11-29

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include description of the masses of food consumed over Thanksgiving dinner and the nature of the festivity,news that they will be on the march yet again, not being able to be home for Christmas.

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                  Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                  Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                  Date:  1864-12-03

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include the will and faith of soldiers and the enduring faith Rutherford has in meeting his deceased love ones in heaven, and the delayed march until the next morning.

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                    Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                    Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                    Date:  1865-03-15

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Writes of a gap in letters due to Rutherford treating a small pox patient, preparations for a march due to the nice weather, the destruction of the Lynchburg Rail Road and canal by Sheridan thus cutting off supplies to Gen. Lee, reference to Sheridan’s raid, and Schofield's victory over Bragg, his opinion of the effectiveness of Black Rebel soldiers on picket duty, more Rebel deserters arriving in camp, mentions writing articles for publication including one for the Sunday School at home.

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                      Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                      Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                      Date:  1865-04-29

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include the tribulations of their recent march, Rutherford's opinions on the future of the nation after the war, expression of his hatred for people who have acted as traitors of the army & strong expression against giving leniency toward any traitor to the Union ; reference to Gen. Sherman.

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                        Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                        Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                        Date:  1863-07-04

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        A brief letter from Frederick Junction, Maryland stating he has received a picture of his wife, that he and the troops are preparing to march, and he has been assigned to be the acting surgeon of the Regiment and Medical Director of the Brigade.

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                          Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                          Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                          Date:  1863-07-05

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include marching to South Pass, Middleton, Maryland, now defending only place the Confederates can cross the Potomac into Va., capturing, killing and wounding Rebels, brief mention of some desertions from the army, and the increased dangers of war for him and the troops.

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                            Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                            Date:  1863-07-19

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Writing from in the field up in the mountains near Snickers Gap, Virginia topics include marching to catch Gen. Robert E. Lee, pillage of livestock for food by some of the soldiers that include chickens and hogs from nearby farms as well as having fresh blackberries, sleeping on the wet ground, spending time looking at photographs of loved ones and poking fun at themselves in harsh living conditions.

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                              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                              Date:  1863-07-27

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Writing a very brief letter from Warrenton, Virginia topics include the continuous marching, lack of food, the hardships the men are currently facing met with cheerfulness, moving on to Culpeper, then to Gordonsville and hopefully on to Richmond.

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                                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                                Date:  1863-10-13

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                In the field writing on a drum in the hot sun, topics include having completed a long march to his position near Washington, the proximity to the enemy, the expectation of a battle, the men prepared and eager seemingly having become desensitized to danger and death as they chat with one another and even sleep.

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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:  1863-12-13

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include a his experiences on November 27th in the Battle of Mine Run that took place near Locust Grove (Orange County, Virginia), meager food for Thanksgiving meal, marching to the forest known as the "Wilderness", the way in which the wounded were cared for, praise for Capt. Steele and the service all the men did for their country.

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                                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                      Date:  1862-02-26

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include receiving marching orders for possible move out on Feb 27th but not knowing in what direction or where the soldiers are headed, whether the Army of the Potomac will move during heavy rain, a sick soldier's brother is providing medical care, and a visitor from Cavendish, Vt.

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                                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                        Date:  1861-09-15

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Spafford writes from Camp Holbrook in Brattleboro, Vt 4th Vt Vol. M. Atherton Guards to his sister in Upper Falls, Vt. Topics include marching orders for Washington, D.C. on September 16, 1861, of his stolen "valice" (dressing case), of having received military supplies of blankets and forthcoming uniforms and arms.

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  [1861]-11-22

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include the Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac at Ball's Cross Roads, "Old Abe" to see 75,000 troops, scouting excursion, marching, picket guard, mentions Thanksgiving in Vermont.

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                                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                            Date:  1862-03-15

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include being unable to march with the Regiment when orders came down to move out, of his dislike of how the hospital was run in Camp Griffin and him leaving that hospital, of living in tent with soldier who also had not moved out with the earlier call to march, being sent by ambulance to the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria, being diagnosed with pleurisy and a detailed description of hospital life and medical care at the Mansion.

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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:  1863-07-16

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Unit has marched to Berlin, Maryland near Harper's Ferry, military duty ends July 23rd, most likely not see any more action before leaving the army, returning to Brattleboro by the 1st of August, asks about those pants he requested made, expresses his opinion on the New York City draft riot (July 13 - 16, 1863), mentions a eating warm biscuit & blackberry pie for dinner.

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                                                  Title:   Justus F. Gale to Father

                                                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                                  Date:  1863-05-13

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Gale writes to his father a description of the land through which he is marching, as the Brigade travels up and down the Red River in pursuit of Confederate forces. He also gives a short description of the Battle of Fort Bisland, and then goes on to describe the fresh food available to the soldiers. He encloses with the letter a plate he used to eat lunch on that day, made of the bark of a Sweetgum tree, as most of his equipment had to be left at the camp at Brashear City.

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