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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:   Hiram H. Barton to Lyman Barton

Creator:  Barton, Hiram H., 1836-1903

Date:  1863-07-16

Resource type:   correspondence

Hiram Barton writes a detailed description of a misunderstanding between the 96th New York Regiment and a cavalry company that they were to rendezvous with. The two forces exchanged fire but no one was injured. He then describes his unit’s participation in a pincer movement against Williamston, North Carolina, in which his unit was supposed to engage the enemy from the front while the 101st and 103rd Pennsylvania Regiments were to attack from the rear.

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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:  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:  1865-02-19

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topic include spending time with General Grant, speculating about the war, interaction between the Union and Rebel pickets, story about a particular rebel deserter that brings hope to Rutherford about the nearing conclusion of the war, reference to Dr. Thayer & his complimentary opinion of Rutherford, telling to a long absence (absent with out leave?) of a doctor that may lead to an opening for advancement for Rutherford.

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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 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:  1864-02-17

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Writes of being on a 4 day picket duty, of his health improving, of bitterly cold days but comfortable in his living quarters, and the high price of cotton.

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                Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

                Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

                Date:  1864-02-22

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include explanation of his judgments of an unnamed individual, seeing the enemy while on picket, stopping at a house where a husband fathered several mulatto children with a slave mistress while sharing the same domicile as his wife, requests his daughter Helen to write and reflects on the loss of life in future battles.

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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:   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:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                            Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                            Date:  1863-07-05

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include family news, the weather, that Colonel Thomas is acting Major General now, that the Rebels are deserting often and are short of provisions, and that his Company while on picket duty talks back and forth to the Rebels and shares their food with them at times.

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                              Title:   Lyman Barton to Hiram Barton

                              Creator:  Barton, Lyman, 1839-1936

                              Date:  1863-05-01

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Lyman Barton writes a detailed description of the capture of the Confederate battery at Hill’s Point on May 19, 1863, when his company and six others from the 8th Connecticut Infantry Regiment and eight companies of the 89th New York Infantry Regiment boarded the U.S.S. Stepping Stones and traveled up the Nansemond River to assault the rifle pits and fort.

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                                Title:   Lyman Barton to Melissa Barton

                                Creator:  Barton, Lyman, 1839-1936

                                Date:  1863-09-10

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Lyman Barton writes of the movements of his Brigade and mentions that the Regiment has received 166 conscripts and that all but one are substitutes. He also mentions that he is unwell.

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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 Carrie A. Williams

                                    Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                    Date:  1864-11-13

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include moving camp towards Winchester, Virginia, a Confederate attack on the picket lines resulting in rebel prisoners, captured artillery & ammunition trains, receiving his commission as 1st Lieutenant of Company I, and his happiness that President Abraham Lincoln was re-elected.

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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:  1864-03-20

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include being on picket duty and receiving his letters through the kindness of Private Francis Phillips of Westford, who walked eight miles to bring them to him. He also writes of wishing to be home for sugaring season that he was chosen editor of the next paper the Sixth Regiment Debating Society.

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                                          Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                          Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                          Date:  1864-11-01

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include wishing for letters from home, being in command of two companies and Adjutant as well, and his hopes for a leave of absence when the Brigade goes to winter quarters.

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                                            Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                            Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                            Date:  1864-12-16

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Williams describes the movement of the 6th Corps from Winchester to Petersburg, Virginia moving into the log houses built by the 2nd Corps, the neighborliness of the rebel pickets, names of people he has received letters from, news of Union General Thomas’ victory over Confederate General Hood at the Battle of Nashville (Tenn.) December 15-16, 1864, receipt of leather gloves much needed by the men.

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                                              Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                              Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                              Date:  1865-02-19

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include the health of the Essex boys, the size of the chapel built in camp, which can hold three hundred soldiers, the friendly banter between the pickets and the number of Confederate soldiers deserting to the Union side, his optimism about the end of the war coming soon, and how many fights he has been in.

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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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