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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:   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 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:  1863-07-04

          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:  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 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:  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:   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:   Justus F. Gale to Friends

                          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                          Date:  1862-05-04

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include packing up to march most likely towards New Orleans, the occupation of New Orleans by the Union troops, thinking the war will be over soon.

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                            Title:   Justus F. Gale to Mother

                            Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                            Date:  1862-10-25

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Writing to his mother, topics include marching orders to go up the railroad, waiting for a regiment of contrabands from the other side of the river to lead the way on their march, receiving his military pay, and giving his best wishes to his mother.

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                              Title:   Justus F. Gale to [Family]

                              Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                              Date:  [1862-04]

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include lyrics to a song that is sung while marching.

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                                Title:   Letter to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                                Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                Date:  1861-12-07

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                December 7, 1861. Topics include Ransom W. Towle's responsibilities in the regiment, discipline if duties not carried out, foraging for food, marching in preparation to join an attack, request for newspapers and the location of the camp.

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                                  Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                  Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                  Date:  1862-04-01

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include the journey from Alexandria to Newport News.

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                                    Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                    Date:  1862-05-18

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include the hard marching to a camp owned by the rebel Colonel Lee and requests for items to be sent from home.

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                                      Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                      Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                      Date:  1862-02-18

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the warm, muddy weather, the success of the Burnsides Expedition, the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, and the possibility of either marching to Manassas and on to Richmond or back to Vermont.

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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:  1862-06-18

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Towle writes from the field near Richmond, Va on heavy firing between Union gun boats on James River and Fort Darlin, an exchange of fire with the enemy, the seemingly deterioration of Gen. McClellan's appearance and the arrest of Colonel Stoughton for not turning out with his regiment to in line of battle.

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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 Laura

                                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                              Date:  1862-12-14

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Farnham writes to his sister, Laura, about the regiment moving to a new camp near Fairfax Courthouse (Fairfax, Virginia), the arrival of Mary Farnham and Mrs. Blunt, the movement of General Sigel and his 20 to 40,000 troops, and reference to the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia (Dec 11-15).

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                                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                Date:  1862-12-31

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Farnham writes from Camp Vermont near Fairfax Court House, Va. to his sister, Laura, of rebel threatening, of military action with the rebels, of Col. Stoughton's entry into the rebel camp, of wife Mary's reaction to gunfire, of Jackson and his 12,000 men on the march maybe to Harper's Ferry.

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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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