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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: ("United StatesArmy.Vermont Infantry Regiment, 4th (1861-1865)") remove term

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Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

Date:  1862-04-29

Resource type:   correspondence

Now in Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C. topics include military discharge, plans to meet Homer White in New York City and the wounding of Captain Atherton.

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    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Marianne Spafford

    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

    Date:  1862-03-29

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Writing to his mother from the Mansion House Hospital topics include being left behind by the Regiment due to his illness, impossibility of getting a furlough, number of men from the 4th Vermont in the hospital, Ellsworth’s house, and possibility of being sent to another hospital.

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      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

      Date:  1862-04-16

      Resource type:   correspondence

      A brief writing from Mansion House Hospital include possibility of getting a furlough and an incident at Yorktown with one soldier from the 4th Vermont being wounded slightly and a rebel soldier being "keeled" over.

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        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

        Date:  1862-03-25

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Writing from the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria VA, topics include difficulty in getting a furlough at the present time, illness among others at the hospital from the Regiment, and the keeping and responsibility of using the Company's money for needed purchases for the men.

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          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Family

          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

          Date:  1862-01-09

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Towle writes in some detail of the hardships of and the way foraging expeditions are conducted, of the cold weather, of rumors of a recall of Vermont troops and of news from home.

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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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              Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Family and Friends

              Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

              Date:  1862-01-29

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Towle writes to parents and friends from Camp Griffin in Virginia about foraging for wood by tearing down fences, desolation of the countryside due to the war, Southerners pretending Union sympathies so as to not be driven from their homes, of the mud, and of making a pipe for smoking from the root of a Laurel tree.

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                Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Family and Friends

                Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                Date:  1862-02-02

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Towle writes of missing his newspaper and his wish to remain informed on both foreign and army news and of some of the men's morale writing home about the hardships of war and a desire to see it end. He writes of Col. Stoughton resignation, of officers' wives attending the camp's religious service and how the service differs from the traditional church worship.

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                  Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                  Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                  Date:  1862-02-17

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include Towle’s sickness Saturday night, of illness and death within the company and regiment, praise for officer Lieut. Pingree, reference to rumor of the capture of Savannah (does he refer to Georgia?), and a brief reference to the possible firing of guns at Fort Ethan Allen for some victory somewhere.

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                    Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                    Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                    Date:  1861-02-27

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Writing from his Virgina camp Griffin, Towle gives a description of a Battalion Drill and the ill health effects on the soldiers, of a gale storm damaging tents and overturning an ambulance with a sick soldier inside. He writes of orders from General McClellan to be ready to move, and states men are sick and death count to date for his regiment is 66.

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                      Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                      Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                      Date:  [1862]-03-05

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      From Camp Griffin, Towle writes of a brigade and bayonet drill, the increasing number of sick men with the death count for the regiment at 77, and of the monotony of camp life.

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                        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                        Date:  1861-03-22

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        From his camp near Alexandria, Virginia Towle writes of the rainy weather, muddy conditions, sleeping conditions wet and tents inadequate for keeping the soldiers dry and of the number of troops camped out in the area. Towle makes a brief reference to his father’s misfortunes [ill health?].

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                          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Friends

                          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                          Date:  1862-04-18

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Writing after a battle near Yorktown, Towle recalls those wounded and killed. States preparations continue to be made for more fighting, that provisions for the men sometimes are difficult to get, that Col Stoughton performs admirably but that General Smith was drunk and has been arrested .

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                            Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Parents and Friends

                            Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                            Date:  1862-05-23

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include Towle’s not receiving wages, the high prices of food, poverty in camp, the destruction of the countryside by the Rebels, how the Union soldiers are forbidden to even touch any property, the movement of the regiment in Virginia, and the attitude of the slaves towards the Yankees.

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                              Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                              Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                              Date:  1862-01-11

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Towle writes from his Virginia camp to his parents about drill, military life, resignation of officers due to being unfit physically or mentally, of still needing new boots, illness, and his positive opinion of Colonel Stoughton.

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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 Rufus and Sebra Towle

                                  Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                  Date:  1862-02-23

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include a Brigade Parade and a farewell address of Washington, he relates some of the soldiers opinions and predictions that the war will end in three weeks. Mention of 109 six mule teams passing through his camp; exact purpose unknown.

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                                    Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                                    Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                    Date:  1862-02-27

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    A brief letter to his parents from Camp Griffin in Virginia of marching orders with three days rations and the hope to encounter the Rebels. He makes a brief reference to Brigade surgeon Dr. Phelps. Towle expresses his dismay that the troops in the west are fighting and gaining glory while the army of the Potomac lays idle.

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                                      Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Rufus and Sebra Towle

                                      Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                      Date:  1862-04-03

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Towle writes of orders received to march on Richmond, Virginia and of his many camp duties. He writes of soldiers letters being detained and of their camp being fired upon by the Rebels. No harm done.

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                                        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Sebra Towle

                                        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                        Date:  1862-01-05

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Towle writes from his Virginia camp to his mother about his thankfulness for the gift of a thick quilt. He writes in detail of boots he wants made, of his thoughts on what it would mean if there was an intervention of England, and his tent mates doing mundane domestic tasks of writing letters and mending clothing.

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                                          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to Sister and Friends

                                          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                          Date:  1862-05-15

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          From camp in Whitehouse Landing, Va. topics include the destruction of the Merrimac (the ironclad warship), a bear hunt, the occupation of Norfolk, Virginia troops under the command of President Lincoln, a description of skirmishes with the Rebels, and the warm weather in Virginia.

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

                                            Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

                                            Date:  1862-06-03

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Writing from in the field near Richmond, Va. topics include a detailed description of Company E at Lees Mills and speaks well of officers (Pingree, Terry). He criticizes a fellow soldier for shirking duty and writes of fighting of the the union and rebel batteries.

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                                              Title:   W. C. Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

                                              Creator:  Holbrook, W. C.

                                              Date:  1861-11-25

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include Lt. W. C. Holbrook of the 4th Vermont Regiment planning to meet Brig. Gen. John Wolcott Phelps at Old Point but must wait for orders from Gen. McClellan first.

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                                                Title:   W. C. Holbrook to John Wolcott Phelps

                                                Creator:  Holbrook, W. C.

                                                Date:  1861-11-25

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include Lt. Adjt. W. C. Holbrook of the 4th Vermont Regiment requesting from Captain Mundee an order to report to Brig. Gen. John Wolcott Phelps at Old Point, Virginia as Aid de Camp.

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                                                  Title:   Warren E. Bliss to Smiley Bancroft

                                                  Creator:  Bliss, Warren E., 1840-1930

                                                  Date:  1862-06-19

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include moving to camp near the Chickahominy, anticipation of a battle at Richmond, the capture of Fort Darling, a description of the Battle of Fair Oaks, and the death of Charles Bancroft. Topics include moving to camp near the Chickahominy, anticipation of a battle at Richmond, the capture of Fort Darling, a description of the Battle of Fair Oaks, and the death of Charles Bancroft. Use of hot air balloons in reconnaissance is mentioned, as is the observation that many plantations are deserted by their owners and run by slaves, Gen. McClellan threatened to turn every "White House" (plantation) into a hospital.

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