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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: ("McClellan, George Brinton1826-1885") remove term

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Title:   Charles C. Canning to William Wirt Henry

Creator:  Canning, Charles C., b. 1828

Date:  1862-05-26

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the defeat of General Banks (Battle of Winchester, May 25) , the promotion of Lt. Col. Stannard, and the request to William Henry to raise a company so that Charles Canning may become a captain. Canning mentions orders from McClellan to prepare for "a bloody battle," but major fighting doesn't ensue until May 31st (Battle of Seven Pines, May 31), when Confederates take advantage of Union positions on the south side of the Chickahominy River.

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    Title:   George W. Quimby to Parents

    Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

    Date:  1862-11-14

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include rumors of an upcoming march and the suspension of General McClellan. (Major Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside would assume command of the Army of the Potomac.) Quimby still hoping to receive a warm coat from home.

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      Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

      Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

      Date:  1862-07-28

      Resource type:   correspondence

      From Culpeper Court House (Virginia) topics include a list of regiments in the area including the 1st Vt, the hope that Captain Rundlett submits his resignation, the resignation of Colonel Kellogg, the acquiring of double barrel shotguns taken from the citizens, brief reference to Gen. McClellan and Gen. John Pope and the prediction that the war will not last much longer.

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        Title:   Henry A. Smith to Family

        Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

        Date:  1862-07-05

        Resource type:   correspondence

        From Snickers Ferry on the Shenandoah River topics include news from Richmond, rumor that Stonewall Jackson was killed, having enough to eat including local peaches & cherries found in Virginia, horses well fed, men on picket duty, newspaper report that General McClellan taken prisoner along with 40,000 of his men, and Henry Smith's homesickness.

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          Title:   Henry Harrison Wilder to Mother

          Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

          Date:  1862-03-13

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include marching from Camp Griffin to camp near Flint Hill and the news that the regiment will continue on to Washington. This is the beginning of the Peninsula Campaign.

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            Title:   Henry Harrison Wilder to Mother

            Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

            Date:  1862-03-16

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Wilder's location is titled "Sesesh Church," in Alexandria. "Sesesh," Wilder's phonetic spelling of "secesh," or "secessionist," suggests that the members of the church were Confederate sympathizers. Mentions Gen. George B. McClellan (recently relieved of his supreme command but still in charge of the Army of the Potomac) and the beginnings of the Peninsula Campaign, which involved patrolling the James and York rivers. Wilder expresses determination to fight for the Union cause.

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              Title:   Hiram H. Barton to [Melissa Barton]

              Creator:  Barton, Hiram H., 1836-1903

              Date:  1862-09-11

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include the journey from Harrisons Landing to Fort Monroe, a fight at Bulls Run (aka 2nd Manassas), and the deaths of Thomas Covil and Lyman Morhouse.

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                Title:   Horatio P. Bruce to Smiley Bancroft

                Creator:  Bruce, Horatio P.,

                Date:  1862-06-26

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include the death of Charles Bancroft from typhoid fever, the sickness of other men in the company, and that the fall of Richmond will bring the war to an end. Like many other writers, he refers to McClellan's reluctance to deploy his massive army.

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                  Title:   Ira A. Marshall to William Wirt Henry

                  Creator:  Marshall, Ira A., d. 1893

                  Date:  1862-05-13

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include recent battles in Yorktown and Williamsburg, which had significant casualties; the destruction of the C.S.S. Merrimack off the coast of Norfolk, Va., now under Union occupation. McClellan will likely send Vt. troops home once Richmond is taken. Ill soldier Tilton Sleeper mentioned again.

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                    Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Parents

                    Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                    Date:  1862-07-06

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include a retreat to the James River (known later as a "great skedaddle," a word that Williams uses here but in the context of not being paid), a fight at Savage's Station, a review by General McClellan, and the men killed and wounded in the fight.

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                      Title:   Nathan A. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                      Creator:  Williams, Nathan A., 1837-1903

                      Date:  1862-08-24

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include the expectation of a battle and reinforcements. The anticipated battle was probably the 2nd Manassas or Bull Run campaign (Aug. 26-30, another win for the Confederates).

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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:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

                          Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                          Date:  1862-10-30

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          As Heaton indicates, the Army of the Potomac crossed the river into Virginia at the time this letter was written (Gen. George McClellan would soon be removed, however, and succeeded by Gen. Ambrose Burnside). There is no record of a "very hard fight" at Gordonsville, Va. Gen. Wm. Buel Franklin was implicated in some intrigue against Burnside, and both were relieved of their command in Jan., 1863. Heaton complains about harsh treatment by his commanding officer and being denied a rubber blanket. Nevertheless, he claims to be in good spirits.

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                            Title:   Warren E. Bliss to Smiley Bancroft

                            Creator:  Bliss, Warren E., 1840-1930

                            Date:  1862-06-19

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include moving to camp near the Chickahominy, anticipation of a battle at Richmond, the capture of Fort Darling, a description of the Battle of Fair Oaks, and the death of Charles Bancroft. Topics include moving to camp near the Chickahominy, anticipation of a battle at Richmond, the capture of Fort Darling, a description of the Battle of Fair Oaks, and the death of Charles Bancroft. Use of hot air balloons in reconnaissance is mentioned, as is the observation that many plantations are deserted by their owners and run by slaves, Gen. McClellan threatened to turn every "White House" (plantation) into a hospital.

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                              Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                              Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                              Date:  1862-04-17

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              From Camp Winfield Scott topics include Motts battery engaging the rebels, an account of Wheelock Veazey’s regiment driving the rebels back, references to several officers and their men and the losses during the skirmishes.

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                                Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                                Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                                Date:  1862-05-14

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Writing from the field 26 miles from Richmond, Virginia topics include a description of camp at Cumberland Landing on the Pamunkey River (tributary of the York River in eastern Virginia), the White House Farm estate, restrictions of the soldiers to respect and not touch anything belonging to the house or grounds, the expectation of a battle at the Chickahominy Swamp, reference to Gen. McClellan and his divisions, praise from confederates prisoners of the excellence of the Vermont 3rd and the hope for a victory near Richmond.

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                                  Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                                  Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                                  Date:  1862-06-07

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writing somewhere near Richmond, Virginia topics include expression of sadness over the death of Captain William Parker Ainsworth of Nashua (May 30, 1862), a description of the Battle of Richmond (Peninsular Campaign), his praise for General McClellan and the reporting of the favorable opinion of François-Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Marie d'Orléans, prince de Joinville of the Yankees.

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                                    Title:   Wheelock G. Veazey to Julia A. Veazey

                                    Creator:  Veazey, Wheelock G., 1835-1898

                                    Date:  1862-06-15

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include Wheelock Veazey’s position as Judge Advocate of a General Court Martial, the inspiration of General McClellan, and a love letter to his wife.

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                                      Title:   William Bruidnell to William Wirt Henry

                                      Creator:  Bruidnell, William, b. 1842

                                      Date:  1862-05-25

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the good health of everyone except Tilton Sleeper, the hope of taking Richmond from the rebels, and the good weather near Cool Harbor, Virginia.

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                                        Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                        Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                        Date:  1861-10-28

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Writing to his father in Montpelier, Vt topics include Holbrook's desire to be appointed aide to General Phelps staff rather than Gen. Brooks', mentions names of several officers, his suggestion to appoint only West Point men to the position of Colonel, his opinion about Frank making a good Major, praise for McClellan and celebrating Thanksgiving on the wrong day.

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                                          Title:   William C. Holbrook to Mother

                                          Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                          Date:  1861-10-16

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include the movement of the regiment from Camp Advance to Camp Griffin, an alarm caused by the Dutchmen mistaking a calf for the rebels, Union officers receive praise from Holbrook (McClellan) as does the unit he is in from officers Col Stoughton and Gen Smith and a description of the living situation at camp that include good food, sleeping on the ground and sending money back home.

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                                            Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                            Date:  1862-12-19

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Family matters, acknowledging the battle of Fredericksburg was a Union loss, health of several members of the regiment, and the possibility of an encounter with rebel cavalry, General McClellan in command of the Army of the Potomac, soldiers happy about that, reference to Confederate Elijah V. White's calvary.

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                                              Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                              Date:  1863-07-01

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include receiving orders to abandon Harpers Ferry, the accidental explosion of a magazine while the 6th Maryland Regiment was trying to destroy it which resulted in 100 casualties, the movement of several Army Corps, and the replacement of General Hooker by General Meade.

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