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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, 8th (1861-1865)") remove term

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Title:   Justus F. Gale to Mother

Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

Date:  1862-08-19

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include a few deaths in the regiment, a description of the Battle at Baton Rouge (August 5, 1862) , and the resignation and promotions within the regiment.

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    Title:   Justus F. Gale to Mother

    Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

    Date:  1862-10-25

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Writing to his mother, topics include marching orders to go up the railroad, waiting for a regiment of contrabands from the other side of the river to lead the way on their march, receiving his military pay, and giving his best wishes to his mother.

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      Title:   Justus F. Gale to Mother

      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

      Date:  1863-01-30

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include his health and the sore on his hand, the family situation in Vermont, including the separation of his parents and how things have changed since he left, and how Sunday is usually the day the army usually has an inspection or moves.

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        Title:   Justus F. Gale to Mother

        Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

        Date:  1863-04-11

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include getting ready to march with the 19th Corps against Fort Bisland and Colonel Thomas’ confidence in the 8th Vermont. He also writes that the regiment marched over 100 miles and captured 2,200 prisoners in an addendum to his letter, dated April 21.

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          Title:   Justus F. Gale to Mother

          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

          Date:  1863-07-01

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Gale writes that his company had been busy digging entrenchments in preparation for an assault on Port Hudson, and that rebels made a small raid to acquire some nearby guns but were repulsed. He also writes that deserters are coming in almost every day and report that rations are short in the fort. As well he writes that there is a rumor that the Rebels had invaded Brashear City and took or burned items left by the 8th Regiment, and the Colonel Thomas reacted strongly, saying “he wished he could get one clip at them with his brigade.”

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            Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

            Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

            Date:  1862-02-09

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include observing the Sabbath in camp by reading the Bible, a description of dress parade, gives his enlistment date at Sept 23, 1861, anticipates military pay of $20 a month from the date of enlistment and mentions again the bombardment of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River by Commodore A H Foote and General Grant.

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              Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

              Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

              Date:  1862-03-07

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Writing to his sister topics include the journey from Camp Holbrook to Ship Island through New York via train car, mentions 45 rebel officers being taken prisoner at Fort Donelson, hopes the war to be over soon, thinks of his family back home and puts his faith in God to rule over all.

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                Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                Date:  1862-05-22

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include trying to figure out where letters may have gone missing, letters taking several weeks to arrive, not receiving the Green Mountain Freeman, the lack of details about the taking of New Orleans, and Justus Gale being on guard last night.

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                  Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                  Date:  1862-06-14

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include the movement of the company from Algiers to Lafourche, a description of the living situation at Algiers, the good food at camp including fresh fruit berries, water quality not good.

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                    Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                    Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                    Date:  1862-07-18

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the good health of Justus Gale, the food available at Algiers including confiscated beef from the locals, standing guard for 12 hour shifts, killing alligators, writes of some of his comrades, the sickness of Sargent 2nd Class.Chas. C. Martin with inflammation of the bowels, the capture of Richmond and Vicksburg, mentions Confederate Gen. G. T. Beauregard, receiving a copy of the Green Mountain Freeman and refers to his religious faith.

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                      Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                      Date:  1862-11-14

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include the poor health of Justus Gale’s sister, having plenty to eat and confiscating anything while in the field including livestock from the rebels, receiving a box from home that was greatly appreciated though disappointed none of Mother's cheese, the expectation of returning to Algiers, and some family affairs including what to do with Charlie's clothes since his death, mentions still needing to get a photographer and have his photo taken, and the possibility of renting the farm.

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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

                          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                          Date:  1862-04-21

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include the improvement in Justus Gale's health, the cost of food items in camp, the death of three men in the regiment, the attempted suicide of a man in Company F, mentions "sugar place" back home in Elmore and writes about the lack of information in camp about the rest of the Union Army.

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                            Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                            Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                            Date:  1863-01-01

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Writing from Brashear City (Morgan City), Louisiana topics include wishing his sister a happy New Year and ruminating on his life as a soldier so far. He also writes about his health, the food he is eating, his mail, newspapers, what he wants put in a box his family is sending to him and regards to family members and friends.

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                              Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                              Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                              Date:  1863-01-25

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include the sore on his hand and how it is healing, the summer-like weather and how the birds in Louisiana are different from the birds in Vermont, their campsite in Thibodeaux, Louisiana, and how much he dislikes southern cooking, which he calls “niger stoge” but has fresh fruit to eat. He also writes about how much money he has made in speculation and of sending home a ring made from a beef bone by their drummer Walter Barnes.

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                                Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                Date:  1863-03-01

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include his appreciation for receiving a box from his family, letters he has received from friends, information on his speculation in watches and apples, and his decision not to receive a photograph of his brother, Charlie, who died on August 30, 1862, since Charlie still seems alive to Justus.

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                                  Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                  Date:  1863-03-06

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include his health and the condition of the sore on his hand, the rumors in Vermont about the 8th Vermont Regiment, news about the officers in Company A (Grout, McFarland, Hutchinson, Cooper & Carpenter) and a comment about a private who transferred to the 3rd Louisiana Native Guard to become an officer. He also writes jokingly about coming home with a “yellow gal.”

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                                    Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                    Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                    Date:  1863-04-05

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Gale writes that he has left the hospital and returned to the 8th Vermont, which is preparing for a move against Port Hudson. He then reminisces about the changes in his family since he enlisted one year before, particulary about the death of his brother, Charlie. As well, he writes of missing his nephew, Herbert, and of a small Louisianian boy who visits the 8th Vermont camp regularly.

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                                      Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                      Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                      Date:  1863-05-01

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Gale writes a long description of his company’s role in the Battle of Fort Bisland on April 12th and 13th, and is pleased by General Banks’ praise of the performance of the 8th Vermont Regiment. He also writes of his pleasure at receiving a photograph of Emily Taft of Barre, and his wish that he could have photographs of all his family, though he would be unable to carry them all in his wallet. As well, he writes of picking up Confederate money from a house that was abandoned before the advance of the “damd yankees” and of seeing rich clothing that he wished he could send home.

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                                        Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                        Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                        Date:  1863-[05-15]

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Gale writes that he is still camped near Alexandria and is using his cartridge box as a desk to write the letter. The weather has been rainy and they have been using their rubber blankets as tents. He then goes on to describe the shooting of James H. Hill, a teamster, by an Irish soldier, James O’Mara, on May 14th, and finishes his letter with a complaint against all those to whom he has written who have not yet replied, and gossip about Ira F. Grout of Elmore, Vermont.

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                                          Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                          Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                          Date:  1863-05-29

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Gale begins his letter with a humorous poem. He then writes that the 8th Vermont is now with the Corps laying siege to Port Hudson, which is strongly fortified and describes a skirmish that resulted in two killed and three wounded from his Company. He also writes that there is constant cannonading and that his company is behind one hill, while the rebels are behind another nearby, and that one day he shot 100 cartridges. He tells his sister he has plenty to eat and that he is safe, even when in action, since he only has to show his head enough to fire.

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                                            Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                            Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                            Date:  1863-06-07

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Gale writes of receiving several letters from home, and describes the position of the Union army at Port Hudson. He writes of how the infantry is screening the artillery as they set up guns to bombard the fort, and of the number of deserters that are crossing their lines. He also writes of the fresh meat they are getting and how cayenne sent from home goes well with it. As well, he writes of how the army ignores Sundays, often marching long distances on those days, and that he wishes he were at the meeting house at home.

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                                              Title:   Justus F. Gale to Sister

                                              Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                              Date:  1863-06-19

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Gale writes of the second assault on Port Hudson on June 14th, describing the rough ground they had to cover to get in range, and the number of killed and wounded in the regiment. He also comments that on the day his mother traveled to Morrisville, he was out hunting “graybacks,” and that while some complain of the conditions in the army, they are the ones who hadn’t been “weaned” yet.

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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:   Justus F. Gale to Sister Almeda

                                                  Creator:  Gale, Justus F., 1837-1863

                                                  Date:  1862-08-16

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include guard duty, being able to pick some sweet potatoes, having fresh fruit melons, a trip into the city, a description of a plantation, mentions how much work it is for owners to look after their slaves, states care must be taken of their dress suits and boots in spite of whatever their living conditions may be and the improved health of some of the men in the regiment.

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