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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:   Bradford Sparrow to Parents and Brothers

Creator:  Sparrow, Bradford

Date:  1865-05-12

Resource type:   correspondence

Writes of receiving good medical care with plenty of good food, alcohol to drink, health is improving, may be transported to Annapolis, Maryland ; hopes to be home soon ; mentions Gen. Grant may discharge all the hospital boys. Letter head U.S. Christian Commission stationery.

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    Title:   Bradford Sparrow to Parents and Brothers

    Creator:  Sparrow, Bradford

    Date:  1865-05-22

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Writes from the General Hospital in South Carolina of his hopes to be discharged soon and be home by mid June, has a job in the dining room setting table, etc. & feels it is good for his health. Thinks of his parents and hopes they have not worried over his having been taken prisoner & mentions the other folks at home. Letter head United States Sanitary Commission, N. E. Women's Auxiliary Association.

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      Title:   Bradford Sparrow to Parents and Brothers

      Creator:  Sparrow, Bradford

      Date:  1865-06-06

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writes of his current location in another hospital, this one in New York, hopes his military discharge will come soon, his need for money sent to him as he will not be paid until his discharge come through, requests the Vermont newspaper the Repository as he wants to know what is going on back home.

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        Title:   Charles C. Canning to William Wirt Henry

        Creator:  Canning, Charles C., b. 1828

        Date:  1862-05-26

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include the defeat of General Banks (Battle of Winchester, May 25) , the promotion of Lt. Col. Stannard, and the request to William Henry to raise a company so that Charles Canning may become a captain. Canning mentions orders from McClellan to prepare for "a bloody battle," but major fighting doesn't ensue until May 31st (Battle of Seven Pines, May 31), when Confederates take advantage of Union positions on the south side of the Chickahominy River.

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          Title:   Charles C. Canning to William Wirt Henry

          Creator:  Canning, Charles C., b. 1828

          Date:  1862-07-18

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include the movement of the regiment to Harrison's Landing, the extensive loss in the 5th Vermont Regiment (Battle of Savage's Station, June 29, 1862), the arrest of Captain Eaton, and a request for a few goods from home.

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            Title:   Charles C. Gregg to William Wirt Henry

            Creator:  Gregg, Charles C., 1832-1910

            Date:  1862-05-28

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include the expectation of a "big old fight" near Richmond (Battle of Seven Pines or Fair Oaks, ended June 1st, 1862), and the report of a fight led by "Porter and Stonman" (Fitz John Porter and George Stoneman, both Union officers) against 17,000 rebels (actual number: 4,500). This was the Battle of Hanover Court House, 18 miles north of Richmond, on May 27th, 1862. Mentions the appointment of Col. George J. Stannard to lead the Vt. 9th Regiment.

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              Title:   Charles Dillingham to William Wirt Henry

              Creator:  Dillingham, Charles, b. 1837

              Date:  1861-08-07

              Resource type:   correspondence

              August 7, 1861 from Clermont, Virginia. Writes Vermont 3rd located at the Chain Bridge Georgetown Heights, picket duty, illness among the men, sudden death of soldiers from sore throat.

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                Title:   Charles Dillingham to William Wirt Henry

                Creator:  Dillingham, Charles, b. 1837

                Date:  1861-08-16

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Writes of wishing to be sent food such as dried beef, cheese, pickles, maple sugar, crackers. Mentions Bush Hill, camping in rainy weather with everything they had being wet, brigade review by General Smith, discontent among the officers. In need of recruits.

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                  Title:   Charles Dillingham to William Wirt Henry

                  Creator:  Dillingham, Charles, b. 1837

                  Date:  1861-08-26

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  August 26, 1861 from Great Falls Maryland. Writes of furloughs and discharges not being granted without good cause, illness among the men including measles, duty guarding the river, good fishing, having acquired a horse, quarters in an old hotel with creature comforts.

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                    Title:   Charles Dillingham to William Wirt Henry

                    Creator:  Dillingham, Charles, b. 1837

                    Date:  1861-08-28

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Writes of authority to enlist 40 men, Lt. Hoyt to go to Vermont to recruit instead of Charles Dillingham, need for good men, will try to discharge from the record those men who have died, were ordered to be in light marching order. May be to attack rebel camp across the river at Falls Church, some illness among the men.

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                      Title:   Charles Dillingham to William Wirt Henry

                      Creator:  Dillingham, Charles, b. 1837

                      Date:  1861-11-?

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Writes of Brigade drill under General Smith, picket duty, prospect of detachment from brigade to go south, much illness among the men including a case of small pox, upcoming promotion of Lt. Crossman, cold weather, upcoming grand review by General McClellan.

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                        Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Clarissa Bancroft

                        Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                        Date:  1862-01-06

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include the snowy weather and a brief description of George Blenkoe, the Confederate master of a "secesh (secessionist) negro," who had been recently brought into camp from Vienna, Va. Description of some Confederate money. Bancroft mentions his own modest weight gain, his need for pockets and other domestic items. One esp. moving line: "God only knows when we shall see each other again but let us hope for the best & that another year will bring us all to the family fireside again."

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                          Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Clarissa Bancroft

                          Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                          Date:  1862-01-11

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include the illness of Ephraim D. Dutton and the treatment he is getting from Bancroft, who is watching over Dutton. Bancroft thinks he'll recover when taken to a hospital. Fever, dysentery, lung ailments are compounded by homesickness, according to Bancroft. B. asks for sausage, cayenne pepper, and brandy from home. Mentions daguerreotype of "that little schoolmarm" and the problem of blue eyes. Final request: burn this letter after you read it! "Chain Bridge" refers to a site near Washington, D.C.

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                            Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Clarissa Bancroft

                            Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                            Date:  1862-01-15

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include drills, a prediction that the fighting will end by June, and inquiries about home. In addition to myriad details regarding weather, food, and correspondence, Bancroft inserts thoughtful questions, e.g.: "Clara do folks in our neighborhood manifest much interest in my being out here? do they seem to care a great deal about it?" He also refers to the lull in fighting--and resulting boredom-- that precedes Lincoln's general order of Jan. 27 for federal armies to advance.

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                              Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Family

                              Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                              Date:  1861-10-06

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include anticipation of a battle in Virginia and requests for some items from home.

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                                Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Family

                                Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                                Date:  1861-11-16

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include the number of men who have either died or are sick in the regiment, the success at Port Royal, and the arrest of the Confederate Ministers to Europe, Mason and Slidell.

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                                  Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Family

                                  Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., d. 1862

                                  Date:  1862-04-06

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include taking possession of Shelman's Mill, the men killed and wounded by the Rebels, and an account of brief skirmishes. Bancroft describes abandoned Rebel fortifications and odd items left behind. Senses that greater fighting is about to begin, and indeed, the so-called siege of Yorktown, Va. dates from this period. In a lighter moment, Bancroft expresses his gratitude for the green tea he received from home: "there is nothing better for a soldier on a march than a cup of tea."

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                                    Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Mary Bancroft

                                    Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                                    Date:  1862-02-16

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include Charles Bancroft's health, the food that is being cooked in camp, and the capture of Fort Donelson, Tenn. Bancroft wasn't involved in it, but the fall of Ft. Donelson reminds him that his tour of duty, if not the whole war, may be over by year's end. Bancroft sounds more confident as a soldier (enjoys picketing) and is certain he could serve another two years if asked.

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                                      Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Parents

                                      Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                                      Date:  1861-12-20

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include items received from home and events surrounding a bottle of brandy that was stolen.

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                                        Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Parents

                                        Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                                        Date:  1862-02-02

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include reminiscences of church meetings in Vt., stimulated by his attendance of them at camp; how much he enjoys the supplies (footwear, clothing, food, brandy) from home; some medical treatment that was improved with brandy; his appreciation of family and home; a few words about postal delivery; and a map of the South he plans to give to his father. -- Because of winter, the war has slackened off a bit. Lincoln is still trying to force McClellan to act.

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                                          Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to Smiley Bancroft

                                          Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                                          Date:  1861-12-31

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include picket guard, description of camp life, and a prediction of the future of the war.

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                                            Title:   Charles F. Bancroft to [Family]

                                            Creator:  Bancroft, Charles F., 1835-1862

                                            Date:  1861-10-02

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include setting up a choir at camp and organizing the sale of Vermont butter.

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                                              Title:   Charles H. Joyce to William Wirt Henry

                                              Creator:  Joyce, Charles H., 1830-1916

                                              Date:  1862-08-13

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include C.H. Joyce's hope of being put in charge of the 11th regiment and anticipation of the camp moving. This would be the evacuation of Harrison's Landing, where McClellan had kept his Army of the Potomac for several weeks. Joyce refers to "old W." (Wash. DC?) and "Gov. H.," Frederick Holbrook, influential governor of Vt., 1861-1863. Also: Battle of Savage's Station, June 29, 1862, where Joyce performed well.

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                                                Title:   Conductors Will Pass Free

                                                Date:  1864-02-26

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                A railroad military pass for Col. Roswell Farnham allowing passage from Alexandria (Va.) to Brandy (maybe, Brandy, Va.)

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                                                  Title:   Daniel S. White to Maria E. Howe

                                                  Creator:  White, Daniel S., 1837-1912

                                                  Date:  1861-08-03

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include the witnessing of a hanging execution of a man from the New Hampshire 2nd Regiment who had killed an innocent woman (wife of a rebel soldier), his reaction to the hanging, of military tactics to deter the rebels advance, of breakfast awaiting consisting of fried pork bread and coffee.

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