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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: ("Prisoners of war") remove term

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Title:   Henry Harrison Wilder to Mother

Creator:  Wilder, Henry Harrison

Date:  1862-02-13

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include Wilder getting his army picture taken, his plan to send it to his mother, and a victory at Roanoke Island, No. Carolina (Feb. 8), in which over 2,000 prisoners were taken.

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    Title:   Ira A. Marshall to William Wirt Henry

    Creator:  Marshall, Ira A., d. 1893

    Date:  1862-06-08

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include camping at Harrison's Landing, Virginia on the James River, makes reference to regiments and companies losing men, the names of men wounded and their injuries in Company D, makes reference to a battle (maybe Battle of Seven Pines [Fair Oaks]??), several officers resigning, the high cost of food, and the slight sickness of Ira Marshall.

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      Title:   John W. Merriam to Friend Samantha

      Creator:  Merriam, John W., d. 1863

      Date:  1862-09-04

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writing from Algiers, La. topics include the false report of Justus's death and an attack by 1500 Rebels on a train leaving Desallemands and heading for Algiers that left 30 to 40 soldiers wounded or killed.

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        Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

        Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

        Date:  1863-07-07

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Writing two letters dated July 7th and 8th from South Mountain Pass, Maryland topics include the deplorable state of Rebel prisoners captured, the kindness of the Vermont Regiment towards the prisoners by giving the Confederates their rations, prisoners marching to Washington, D. C., his reflections on the battle at South Mountain that took place September 1862, Union destruction of Rebel pontoon bridges, one time the troops rejoice at the heavy rain as it keeps the river high and having potatoes and fresh berries to eat.

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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 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:   Justus F. Gale to Father

              Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

              Date:  1862-07-10

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include the medicating himself after seeing the doctor twice to rid his diarrhea, taking of Richmond and rebel prisoners, the weather in Algiers, high price of provisions, inquires about family and the plan to go visit friends 4 miles away.

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                Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                Date:  1862-11-18

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include the being saddened by the ill health of his family in Elmore, enjoying good health himself, troops living in an apparently abandoned house in Bayou Boeuf, La., the parole of the prisoners who are still alive (not clear but these may be Union soldiers taken prisoners as some were shot for running from their army and joining a Union regiment), the movement of the army on the Potomac and still unable to get a photograph of himself taken.

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                  Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister & Friends

                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                  Date:  1862-09-09

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include the sickness of Justus Gale’s mother and brother Charley, mentions his dismay of men trying to skip military duty, the rebel prisoners taken by various Union regiments, mentions Gen. Butler may be taking care of the guerrilla fighters and the injuries sustained by the men in the train accident whereby many seemed to have avoided amputations.

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                    Title:   Mary E. Farnham to Henry

                    Creator:  Farnham, Mary E.

                    Date:  1862-12-24

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Mary Farnham writes from near Fairfax Court House in Virginia to her brother, Henry, of soldiers being taken prisoners, of the wounded, of casualties, of checking rabbit traps for food. She mentions the weather, of her tour of camp, of sickness among the troops, of her excellent dinner at camp with Mrs. Blunt, Mrs. Stearns and others, and writes of family back home.

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                      Title:   Orlando S. Turner to Joseph and Louisa A. Turner

                      Creator:  Turner, Orlando S., b. 1839

                      Date:  1861-07-26

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include a brief account of the first Battle of Bull Run, Manassas, Virginia. Writes of the bravery of the soldiers, casualties and men killed, of his opinion that the officers were afraid to go where the soldiers were, damage to the American flag.

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                        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                        Date:  1862-02-05

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Towle responds to his parents' letter that expresses low morale at home, financial difficulties at home and Towle encourages the doing without luxuries on the home front as much as possible. He writes of a 30 hour picket trip, the capture of rebel two scouts, drills being only two a day and of a self inflicted wounding of a Union soldier requiring amputation of the wounded soldier's leg.

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                          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

                          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                          Date:  1862-06-19

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include the Massachusetts 16th Regiment pushing the rebels back in heavy fighting with the Rebels in rifle pits, soldiers killed (74), prisoners taken (16) and preparations being made to move out in anticipation of battle the next day.

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                            Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                            Date:  1863-03-09

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Lt. Chamberlain resigns due to illness, General Stoughton taken prisoner by Fitz Hugh Lee’s Cavalry at the Court House (Virginia), the large number of sick men in camp many with typhoid fever, fears his best horse will not regain health, enclosed pictures (ambrotype, a photograph), suggested reading for Laura with specific book titles stated as well as books he is reading (Motley's History of the Dutch Republic and Woman in White), orders for Colonel Blunt to report to the station to take command of the Brigade, description of who is in the photos being sent home.

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                              Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                              Date:  1861-06-29

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include two Louisiana Zouaves who were brought in by Col. Hawkins, accounts of their desertion and capture, rumors of an advancing Confederate force, and the anticipation of an enemy attack that never occurs. .

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                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to Mary [Farnham]

                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                Date:  1863-06-10

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Train arriving from Rappahannock with wounded soldiers & rebel prisoners from fight at Brandy Station on June 9 between Confederate Major General J. E. B. Stuart & Union Gen. Alfred Pleasanton [part of the Gettysburg Campaign], reference to Rebel military tatic regarding Vicksburgh and Fredericksburgh, the examination of witnesses in regard to Lieutenant Hartshorn’s conduct, Captain Hazard being at Chantilly with his battery, money sent to Geo. Chamberlin

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                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                  Date:  1863-07-03

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  From near Westminster, MD topics include the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3), eighth day of marching for the men, the 12th guarding trains of First Corps, the false rumor General Stannard was killed, hundreds of prisoners from the battle passed by camp, ammunition exploding in wagons, replacement troops of the 15th coming in and the hope to be home soon.

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                                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                    Date:  1861-07-29

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    July 29, 1861. Topics include a flag of truce coming into the fort in order to collect baggage of Rebels Mr. Shurtliff (an artist) and Captain Jenkins who were taken prisoner, mentions the names of several ships (Dale, Monticello, Penguin, Hope).

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                                      Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                      Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                      Date:  1863-01-20

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      News of fighting at Fredericksburg, Va. (Mud March of January 1863?), his duties regarding Quarterly Reports and keeping accounts, his worry about his brother Elisha Barney who feels must be in the fighting, reads from the newspapers that Elisha has been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He also writes of the weather, and reports of Rebel prisoners being sent to Camp Douglas.

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                                        Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                        Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                        Date:  1863-01-26

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Still at Camp Douglas with the Regiment remaining in Chicago to guard 1500 expected Rebel prisoners from Arkansas, good supper on tin dishes, getting teased about writing to his wife so frequently, the reported resignation of a brother of Lieut. Sherman in Company C because he was passed over for promotion, love to his daughter Carrie and son Fred.

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                                          Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                          Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                          Date:  1863-01-29

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include a deplorable condition of the Rebel prisoners on their arrival from the Murfreesboro battle after spending 27 days in transport, Rebels lack of descent clothing or food to eat, Barney's attendance at a Temperance meeting, and still writing about the lost money but has hope of being able to be repaid as the Chaplain had a similar loss and was repaid.

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                                            Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                            Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                            Date:  1863-01-31

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Written on Sherman House stationery topics include getting reimbursed for $120 stolen from an Express package, the condition of the more Rebel prisoners arriving, camp now having 4000 Confederate prisoners, attending a temperance lecture given by John B. Gough, and staying at the Sherman House, whose marble floor in the lobby was manufactured by Barney’s father.

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                                              Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                              Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                              Date:  1863-02-10

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include trying to get a pass into camp so a friend can see the Rebel prisoners, promotions in the Regiment, including the promotion of Colonel Stannard to Brigadier General, and a riot by the 65th Illinois Infantry Regiment against the sutlers.

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                                                Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                                Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                Date:  1863-02-22

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                His medicinal use of alcohol, the bitter weather, a practical joke he played on Lieutenant Erastus W. Jewett and the uses of humor, singing (Brave Boys are they) and other entertainments, his conversation with a Rebel prisoner about allegiance to the U.S., his worries about the news of small pox back home in Swanton.

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                                                  Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                                  Date:  1861-06-30

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Writes from Newport, Va. of his improving health after a bout of illness, of about 6000 Rebels in the area which the company is out scouting, the capture of two prisoners from a Regiment of Zouaves from Louisiana who voluntarily surrendered as they thought their company had moved out without them, of Barney's weight loss, death of a man from the Middlebury Co. and his funeral.

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