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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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Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

Date:  1863-07-29

Resource type:   correspondence

Writing in the field near Warrenton, Virginia topics include the importance of receiving letters from home, morale kept up by sharing bits of news from home with each other in spite of the hardships in camp, reference to several commanding officers including French, Elliot, Morris, General George Meade, his hearsay knowledge of the drunkenness of Gen. Joseph Hooker, of receiving a home newspaper with one of his letters printed in it.

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    Title:   Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

    Creator:  Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902

    Date:  1863-05-30

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include not receiving any letters from home, wishing to know if the $25 sent has been received, dealing with the camp cooks drinking too much whiskey and getting drunk, needing to confront the Quartermaster for interfering with his teams and ambulances again, Colonel Jewett's wife visiting which makes four wives in camp which relieves coarseness among the men and relieves monotony in camp.

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      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

      Date:  1862-01-21

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Spafford writes from Camp Griffin, Virginia on topics including the difficulty in getting a furlough, mud and rain, arrival of a New York regiment and their drunkeness because of the mud, a woman living in camp that came with the New York regiment, camp life, and asking for news from home.

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        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

        Date:  1862-04-02

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Spafford continues to write from the Mansion House Hospital on topics that include worrying about his mother’s health, difficulty of getting a furlough, commenting on his preference to be a 2nd lieutenant and not a captain, detailed description of a day in the hospital, rules posted in the hospital, a dialogue he had with a drunken soldier from a California regiment, and description of a visit by a Vermonter from Windsor.

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          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Sister and Friends

          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

          Date:  1862-06-22

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Camping in the field near Richmond topics include the weather in Virginia with food crops growing well in the hot temperatures, pickets conversing and trading papers, coffee, whiskey, fighting resulting in losses, reference to Rifle Pits, preparations for the Battle of Richmond, sickness among the soldiers.

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

            Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

            Date:  1862-06-16

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Writing from the field topics include cleaning up the streets of Richmond, Va., Rebel and Union pickets conversing and trading bread and whiskey, the hot weather causing Sun Stroke, and building bridges and shoring up roads to ease the difficulty of moving the heavy artillery on the soft roads.

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              Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

              Date:  1863-06-02

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include being field officer of the day, ride with Col. Blunt to Wolf Run Shoals, sutler tent torn down by the men & some supplies drank & eaten, a raid by the rebels on the railroad and the destruction of the train with rebels' artillery being taken by Union soldiers, and the hope that Colonel Andross and Stearns will come out to Union Mills.

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