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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: ("Picketing") remove term

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Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Clarissa Bancroft

Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

Date:  1862-01-06

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the snowy weather and a brief description of George Blenkoe, the Confederate master of a "secesh (secessionist) negro," who had been recently brought into camp from Vienna, Va. Description of some Confederate money. Bancroft mentions his own modest weight gain, his need for pockets and other domestic items. One esp. moving line: "God only knows when we shall see each other again but let us hope for the best & that another year will bring us all to the family fireside again."

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    Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Family

    Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., d. 1862

    Date:  1862-04-06

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include taking possession of Shelman's Mill, the men killed and wounded by the Rebels, and an account of brief skirmishes. Bancroft describes abandoned Rebel fortifications and odd items left behind. Senses that greater fighting is about to begin, and indeed, the so-called siege of Yorktown, Va. dates from this period. In a lighter moment, Bancroft expresses his gratitude for the green tea he received from home: "there is nothing better for a soldier on a march than a cup of tea."

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      Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Family

      Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

      Date:  1861-10-06

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include anticipation of a battle in Virginia and requests for some items from home.

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        Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Mary Bancroft

        Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

        Date:  1862-02-16

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include Charles Bancroft's health, the food that is being cooked in camp, and the capture of Fort Donelson, Tenn. Bancroft wasn't involved in it, but the fall of Ft. Donelson reminds him that his tour of duty, if not the whole war, may be over by year's end. Bancroft sounds more confident as a soldier (enjoys picketing) and is certain he could serve another two years if asked.

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          Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Smiley Bancroft

          Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

          Date:  1861-12-31

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include picket guard, description of camp life, and a prediction of the future of the war.

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            Title:   George J. Stannard to William Wirt Henry

            Creator:  Stannard, George J., 1820-1886

            Date:  1862-01-07

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include inquiring after William Henry's health, the sickness in the regiment, and a brief description of drills and picket duty and makes mention of not being promoted, states Capt Dillingham to be promoted.

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              Title:   George W. Quimby to Emeline B. Masta

              Creator:  Quimby, George W., 1835-1862

              Date:  1862-01-20

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include the terrible weather at Camp Griffin, Va. and the numerous deaths from sicknesses such as Typhoid Fever. "Smith's Division" refers to the Vt. 5th Infantry Regiment under the command of Gen. William F. "Baldy" Smith.

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                Title:   George W. Quimby to Sister

                Creator:  Quimby, George W.

                Date:  1861-10-26

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Writes from Camp Griffin, Va, Smith's Division of camp life in general, of good food, of having been in several military advances since he last wrote, marching from Chain Bridge towards Lewinsville, "Sesesh" soldiers brought in with one having been said to have preached teh funeral service of Jackson and worth a lot of money, Picket Guard, Brigade Guard and sister's husband's health.

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                  Title:   Henry A. Smith to Clarissa A. Smith

                  Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                  Date:  1863-01-09

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include rebel raids on the pickets, how comfortable their camp is, what he wants in a box his family will be sending him, including a baked chicken and maple sugar. He also mentions his views about the war and whether France will come in on the Confederate side. Mentions CSA Gen. Jeb Stuart and his cavalry raids.

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                    Title:   Henry A. Smith to Clarissa A. Smith

                    Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                    Date:  1863-02-25

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the weather, the capture of some Confederate officers by a scouting party, his advice to his mother about the farm, and the lack of specie in the area due to the war. Still needs a pair of socks.

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                      Title:   Henry A. Smith to Clarissa A. Smith

                      Creator:  Smith, Henry A., d. 1864

                      Date:  1863-06-21

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      A short letter informing his mother that the regiment was under marching orders and that he had his picture taken.

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                        Title:   Henry Harrison Wilder to Mother

                        Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

                        Date:  1861-11-15

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Henry writes from Camp Griffin, Va. of a grave marker being made for Potter who died of consumption, of acknowledging that two months have passed since leaving home, of going on picket duty, of the expected presence of McClellan and of there being 30,000 men on the parade ground.

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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:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                            Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                            Date:  1863-05-31

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include the improved health of J.C. Rutherford's son, wishing for photographs of the new house and of his wife, the visit from a mounted band from Washington played for the brigade, compliments paid to Rutherford and other officers, a soldier who ran the line and did not halt when ordered by the pickets was shot through the leg by friendly fire.

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                              Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                              Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                              Date:  1862-09-15

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Dr. Rutherford writes of camp life in the open air at "Camp Briggs" located along the Potomac River, of the proximity to the rebels and of being able to hear the firing of guns. He writes of being on the move, in the saddle all day, of having no tents to sleep in and being very happy with his situation.

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                                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                                Date:  1862-12-25

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include the regiment guarding the Potomac River at Whitesford, the Rebels gathering on the hills opposite the camp, of anticipating Christmas dinner and a medical disaster at Washington requiring more personnel in the medical corps.

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                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                  Date:  1863-03-29

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include a description of the good tent living conditions, the picket line from Union Mills to Blackburns Ford along Bull Run, the return of Lieutenant Williams to camp with recovered health and plans for when back home by April 1864.

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                                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                    Date:  1863-06-16

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include the hot weather, trains of wagons, etc passing through camp raising much dust, Dr. George not yet returned.the 15th Regiment returning to Union Mills, soldiers report hard march in hot weather, sun stroke, Joseph being unable to get a pass to Washington, and the regiment being on picket duty, $20 enclosed, wondering if father might like to come to camp.

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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:  1862-12-18

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Writing from camp near Fairfax Court House, Virginia topics include a description of what picket duty entails, an account of the people Joseph Spafford met in Virginia including two families with very different attitudes towards the Northern soldiers. Writes of dining with one family who also had been given the responsibility of keep a dead Confederate officer in a metal lined coffin in their shed, of observing battle remains at the Bull Run site and of picking up bullets, etc from there, the ill health of Ed Hammond, the decision to remain at Camp Vermont and a brief reference to gunfire heard near Fredericksburg.

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  1862-12-30

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include the whole brigade on picket duty on Bull Run, a catholic church having been emptied of its pews so as to used for a hospital, a brief encounter with Rebel soldiers, Spafford's anger with the Rebels being able to infiltrate the Union troops, the captured rebel prisoner stated aim was to take Sutler's supplies, acceptance of officers' resignations and the potential promotion of George Clark to Captain.

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                                            Title:   Lyman Barton to Sister

                                            Creator:  Barton, Lyman

                                            Date:  1862-11-25

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include an account of the Battle of Antetam [sic], the cold weather, the high prices of goods at camp, and reports on the health of other soldiers and family members.

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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

                                                Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                                Date:  1861-12-09

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include the improving health of the regiment, the deaths of John Roland and Walter Osburn, and a scouting expedition.

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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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