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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:   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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                                  Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                  Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                  Date:  [1861]-07-23

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include the plan for the journey home, the death of Whitney of the Woodstock Co. by the hands of forty or fifty rebels, the capture of two rebels, and of only a few men ill in the hospital.

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                                    Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                    Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                    Date:  1862-08-28

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include the capturing of some Rebels at Newtown who stated Rebels do not go hungry as long a Union troops are around from which to steal food, issues with the postal mail service, the difficulty of getting rest in camp, and the sickness of the regiment.

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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:  1862-10-05

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include the conditions at Camp Tyler, the observation of the Sabbath not to his liking as the duty of dispensing clothing to the men, etc. took up much of it, recounts the past 3 weeks, of seeing Vermont marble on the floors of some buildings on his visit to the city of Chicago, the Chicago marble business using Vermont marble and of there being a lot of Vermonters in the area.

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                                          Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                          Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                          Date:  [1862]-10-30

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include the improvement of Barney’s health, the care he is receiving, and a description of the bilious fever with which he was afflicted (i.e. jaundice).

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                                            Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                            Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                            Date:  1862-11-03

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include the continued improvement of Barney’s health from jaundice though his appetite is low and his skin itches, of foods he regularly eats, the sickness of Sergeant Whitmore with typhoid fever, and the deaths in the regiment including Chas Crook.

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                                              Title:   Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

                                              Creator:  Barney, Valentine G., 1834-1889

                                              Date:  [1861]-07-14

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include the dates in which Valentine G. Barney will head home, the arrival of a telegraph wire from Newport News to the fort which will help the officers communicate quickly, the meeting of scouting party with Secessionists, the death of at least one of them, of 10 Union soldiers being taken prisoners and the news that the Fort is ready for use.

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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:  Whitmore, Orange S., 1836-1908

                                                  Date:  1862-10-29

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Whitmore writes to Maria Barney of the improvement of Barney’s health, of Barney advising Maria to keep the cow and the possibility of returning to Vermont in the near future.

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