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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: ("Morale") remove term  Format: ("text") remove term  Format: ("text") remove term

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Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

Date:  1861-05-05

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include camp life, food (lack of some items, abundance of others), daily routine, occasional discomforts. Farnham mentions rumors that the Regiment won't be sent to the South but more likely to New York, even though most of the men are looking forward to battle. Some discussion about postal service, i.e. how long a letter will take for sender and recipient. Col. Phelps is lauded as a good disciplinarian.

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    Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

    Date:  1861-05-08

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include acting as Adjutant of the Regiment at Camp Fairbanks, Rutland, and considering a commission in the army with the rank of captain. Farnham mentions his high regard for his superiors, especially Ge. Baxter, and how much the soldiers look forward to arriving at Fort Monroe and eventually training for battle.

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      Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

      Date:  1861-05-09

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include anticipated journey to New York en route to Ft. Monroe, Va. Farnham describes oath-taking ceremony upon leaving Camp Fairbanks (Judge Smalley) and soldiers passing muster by Col. Rains. US Army has provided them with good clothing and food. Villages cheer when they pass through. Farnham is confident that Gen. Scott will be pleased with the Vt. soldiers soon to arrive at Ft. Monroe.

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        Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

        Date:  1861-05-10

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Farnham relates the impression the 1st Regiment made on citizens of Troy, NY and finally New Yorkers, both in public and in the press. Apparently, it was "the biggest and toughest looking regiment" seen in New York. Concludes letter with a few domestic concerns. Mentions daughter Laura's letter "in the Times" (probably Burlington Times).

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          Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

          Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

          Date:  1861-05-15

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include description of Fort Monroe, including "the big gun" and other armaments; overnight guard duty; being outside the fortress walls; staying in local hotel; good weather, food; low anxiety. Names: John Stearns, John Prichard, David Johnson; Laura, Ezekiel. Ships: Alabama.

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            Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

            Date:  1861-05-18

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include the safety of the fort; definition of "columbiad" (delivers 10-inch cannonball); living arrangements (Willard Hotel); officers' food versus soldiers' food; daily drill and men's complaints; several lines about health concerns, children's health, not getting mail, and correct mailing address. Names: Pickett, John Prichard, Andross, Stearns, Charlie Peters, Mr. Batchelder, Woodstock Company.

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              Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

              Date:  1861-05-25

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include the rebels burning Hampton Bridge, the funeral of Benjamin Underwood, the food the Massachusetts Regiment is receiving from home, and false alarms of rebels. Hampton population, whites and blacks. Fortress Monroe now has close to 4,000 soldiers encamped; news that Vt. Regiment is about to be shipped out, destination unknown. Names mentioned: Gen. Butler, Col. Washburn, Maj. Worthen, Lt. Pickett, Col. Phelps, Capt. Clark, Andross, Judge Underwood, John Prichard, Mr. May, Mr. Batchelder, Ed. Wilcox, John Richards, Dr. Hartley, Daniel Johnson.

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                Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                Date:  1863-04-13

                Resource type:   correspondence

                A brief letter from Farnham who writes of the unit moving out but not knowing where they are going, of being sad with wife gone but hopes she reached Scott House in Washington safely and is well ; urges her to write every day and he will also.

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                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                  Date:  1863-04-14

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Farnham writes of the unit preparing to leave Wolf Run Shoals, expresses his wishes to see his wife, Mary, again, feeling sad with his wife absent from camp but glad she is safe, sends a photo by way of Capt. Ormsbee that Mary is to take care of photo, Mr. Peach is ill, letter from Henry and his clothing business.

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                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                    Date:  1861-05-27

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the movement from Hampton to Newport News, Virginia, the beginning of the first entrenchment at Camp Butler, some details about camp dentistry, and the appointment of John Wolcott Phelps as Brigadier General. Mentions Vt. military units: Northfield Co., Bradford Guards, Vt. Regiment ; a Virginia unit: Old Dominion Dragoons (ODD) ; ships: Catalina, Monticello ; and a newspaper (Vt.?): "the Telegraph."

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                      Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                      Date:  1863-04-13

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Roswell Farnham checks up on his wife, Mary ; expresses being sad and lonely once she had left camp, asks her to write him and tell him how to direct his letters to her, instructions to her if she needs money and for her to check her clothing for vermin since she was in camp for such a long time.

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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:  1861-06-25

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include monotony of camp life, the warm weather, and rumors around camp that an attack is imminent. Farnham assures wife that rebels would need a large army to attack them so close to Fort Monroe.

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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:   Theodore Barton to Sister

                              Creator:  Barton, Theodore

                              Date:  1862-09-29

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include the journey from Harrison's Landing to Boliver via Newport News and Alexandria. Names several wounded and deceased soldiers, perhaps known by his sister. Concludes with a somewhat gruesome description of "picnic."

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                                Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                Date:  1861-07-07

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Writes of his uncertainty of when he will head home, of the men being anxious to be out of the army and away from camp life, a visit from Sect. Cameron, of the family

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                                  Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                  Date:  1862-07-13

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writing from Camp Davis in Brattleboro, topics include Barney being made officer of the day tomorrow, feeling proud of that, and the plan to march to Washington.

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                                    Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                    Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                    Date:  1862-07-27

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Writing from Camp Siegle, Virginia, topics include the journey to camp, their train cars running off the track with no injuries to the men, other men camping in the area being demoralized. He is in Gen. Piatts Brigade and Pope's division. Writes the hill being fortified with hard labor by the men, food in camp being good but not so good when on the move. Mentions the boys from Swanton being well. Six rebel scouts captured, one believed to pretend to be crazy but a grave ordered to be dug for the prisoner in hopes of getting him to confess his pretense.

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                                      Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                      Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                      Date:  1862-09-06

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the regiment marching towards Harpers Ferry, the regiment disheartened to being ordered to retreat, loss of much equipment and people left behind in the hospital, the destruction of supplies left behind, their hard march to current location, the brief mention of a "heavy battles". (Maryland Campaign Sept 3-15, 1862). Reference to prisoners being paroled.

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                                        Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                        Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                        Date:  1862-09-10

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Writing from Bolivar Heights, West Virginia topics include not hearing from the men left at "W" (Winchester? or Washington?) and the regiment encamping with the 60th Ohio Regiment and the 126th New York Regiment, not hearing or having any word of what military actions are taking place unless troops hear the firing of guns, reference to prisoners being paroled, of soldier committing suicide and Barney encouraging troops to partake in evening singing to keep up morale. Maryland Campaign Sept 3-15, 1862.

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                                          Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                          Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                          Date:  1862-10-01

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Writing from Chicago topics include the journey to an area 2 miles from Chicago, a description of the living quarters that include a good dinner, fixing up the sheds they are living in which are on the fairgrounds (the site of a Sanitary Fair to benefit soldier relief funds, Oct. 27, 1863), the morale of the men, food of pork, bread, beef, talk of being relocated to Minnesota, and the disparate need for money.

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                                            Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                            Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                            Date:  1862-12-10

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            From Camp Douglas topics include the continued improvement of Barney’s health, being busy with issues with the company including low morale and discipline, the good weather in Chicago and having received a photo of Maria.

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                                              Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                              Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                              Date:  1863-01-11

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Barney still at Camp Douglas in Chicago and still hopes to be exchanged, writes of his loneliness and how the officers amuse themselves, the health of the Regiment, of light cases of small pox among the men, of hopes of being able to regain the money lost and inquires about family members.

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                                                Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                                Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                Date:  1863-02-15

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include his desire to return home to play with his children, his worry about hearing that the family home was nearly lost in a fire, and how visiting with acquaintances helps him keep from being homesick.

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                                                  Title:   W. C. Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

                                                  Creator:  Holbrook, W. C.

                                                  Date:  1863-04-18

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include investigation of the 7th Vermont Regiment's role in the Battle of Baton Rouge, and the suggestion to bring charges against General Butler. The writer, Col. Holbrook, apologizes for not representing the regiment as well as he could have, were he more experienced in the Courts of Inquiry. Holbrook mentions "a good deal of marching and counter marching" in the Baton Rouge area.

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