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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:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

Date:  1863-05-16

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the expectation of many to be mustered out of service soon, false alarms with gun fire, skirmishes around where the regiment is, the locations of the other regiments including the 14th, 15th and 16th regiments, the health of several individuals, obtaining ice water and iced current wine from Mr. Bowen's sister who lives in the area, him reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, and mentions his horse, Burnie.

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    Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

    Date:  1863-05-16

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include the enemy posting infantry pickets on the other side of the Rappahannock, moving to Bristol Station, Virginia, locations of other companies, at home the death of Jenny (possibly a horse) caused by "bots" (a disease of mammals, especially cattle and horses, caused by infestation of the stomach or intestines with botfly larvae), more encouragement to have his wife drink porter.

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      Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

      Date:  1863-05-24

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include small disturbances by the rebels nightly, men is danger of guerrilla warfare by the Rebels, the ill health of the 13th regiment, a lot of inquiries about folks at home, a reference to Mr. Bond and the garden, him wanting the front yard at home spruced up before he gets back home, again encourages his wife to drink porter and get fat as she only weighs 104 pounds.

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        Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

        Date:  1863-05-26

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include a pleasant ride at Manassas Junction, stopping by a deserted house and picking bouquets of flowers from the over grown garden there, the danger of rebel guerrilla warfare, his horse Burnie improving in health but still with a cough, the plan to return to Union Mills tomorrow, hoping to receive the newspapers sooner than before, and much preparations by the soldiers in expectation of rebels in Alexandria.

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          Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

          Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

          Date:  1863-05-28

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Farnham returning to Union Mills, Virginia ; living accommodations pleasant with tent set and well ventilated, men doing drills well, Farnham at headquarters in order to perform duties in the absence of the Colonel thus Farnham was not put in command of any of the detachments ; advises wife to not work so hard and take porter rather than whiskey.

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            Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

            Date:  1863-06-07

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include the expectation to start for home in about twenty days, Hooker crossing to Fredericksburg, many men needed for the line from Blackburn's Ford to Woodyard's ; Col. Randall at Occoquan, Virginia ; troops remaining on the railroad in anticipation of Lee, and the Court of Inquiry taking place regarding the conduct of Lieut Hartshorn.

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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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                Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                Date:  1863-06-04

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include D.K. Andross and J.C. Stearns, Lt. Col. Stowell resigning, visit to Fairfax Street hospital in Alexandria, Va. to see sick soldiers, men receiving good medical care, Mrs. Stannard with the General, the nice weather, and roses & laurels in bloom.

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                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                  Date:  1863-06-13

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include a group of officers and men going on a ride to the battle field of Bull Run, thoughts of wanting to stay in the military but home and family pull at him more, the expectation of leaving on July 4th for Brattleboro, a visit to and description of Mr. Buckley’s family (Confederate sympathizers), talk of drinking alcohol and of wife wishing for photographs.

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                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                    Date:  1863-06-17

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the old Vermont Brigade being at Fairfax Station, 3rd Corps train with 400 wagons, the Army of the Potomac moving in response to Gen. Robert E. Lee as Lee is on the move to Pennsylvania (Gettysburg Campaign), and Farnham's lament on men being discharged just as they are in best fighting condition.

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                      Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                      Date:  1863-06-21

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include marching to Wolf Run Shoals, strengthening the pickets, fighting at Aldie down to Thoroughfare Gap, firing heard near Dumfries, an invitation to join Hooker’s Army with a stay of another six months but will not in spite of mixed emotions about wanting to stay in the military and wanting to be at home with family.

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                        Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                        Date:  1863-06-20

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include the need for the men to stay in the army even though they will be discharged within the week, the destruction of the Rappahannock Bridge by the union soldiers preventing the Rebels from using the Orange & Alexa. railroad, and the sixth corps going to Manassas (Bull Run), freshly butchered chicken for breakfast from Mr. Peach.

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                          Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                          Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                          Date:  1863-06-25

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Two letters dated the 25th and 27th of June telling of marching to Centreville, camping beyond there, sharing a tent with the Chaplain, heavy rain, the brigade now reporting to General Reynolds of the 1st Army Corps, his horse Burnie sick again and knows the horse must go along or be put down. In the letter of the 27th tells of moving to Poolesville, Maryland, of his horse, Burnie, feeling better & may do fine and the soldiers being kept in the field until very end of their military service.

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                            Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                            Date:  1863-06-28

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Four days of marching have left the men foot sore and exhausted & he writes of the hardships and consequences of men not being able to keep up. Tells of a mishap with an officer and his horse, of the men picking up stray horses, of the men cooking for themselves, of butchered cattle for fresh beef, mention of Mrs. Capt. Williams and Mrs. Damon, moving towards Hagarstown and no expectation for a fight.

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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:  1863-07-03

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                From camp at Westminster, MD topics include a description of the Battle of Gettysburg, the 12th ordered to guard the trains, supplies needed by the men in the field as they have none, the men of the 12th carrying out their duty and suffering much even though not engaged in the fighting, the determination of the men to continue marching despite severe hardship, horses giving out but coming to camp the next morning, men may be needed to stay on duty even though their military duties are up.

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                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                  Date:  1863-07-04

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Two letters. One dated July 4th, the other July 5th give a description of the battle at Gettysburg, an account of those who were killed or wounded, and the expectation to be home soon.

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                                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                    Date:  1862-12-03

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include Farnham's anticipation of his wife Mary's visit, plans to celebrate Thanksgiving in camp, Mary's dental health, there being a large amount of supplies all for the holiday dinner.

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                                      Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                      Date:  1862-12-07

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include inquiries about Mary Farnham’s teeth and dental health, the severe cold weather in camp, instructions on where Mary should go to meet up with Roswell, the house he lives in that has some chinks that allow the wind to come in.

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                                        Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                        Date:  1861-08-15

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Farnham writes from Camp Phelps in Brattleboro to wife Mary about the possibility of mustering out, of the men getting paid, and Col. Phelps now General Phelps.

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                                          Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                          Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                          Date:  1861-05-13

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Farnham is writing from the SS Alabama after arriving safely off the coast of Virginia, at Fort Monroe. Some men are sea-sick, and another has measles. Company was greeted with three cheers by sailors passing by. Farnham called on again to be adjutant because of his demonstrated leadership skills. A few words about friends and acquaintances seen in New York, one being a secessionist.

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                                            Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                            Date:  1861-06-01

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include the food that the soldiers eat, and that pilfering from local farms--even "secessionist"--is forbidden. Farnham assures his wife that newspaper reports of the war are highly exaggerated. A rebel attack is unlikely before they return to Vt. A German scouting party caused a stir with an accidental gun discharge. Col. Phelps assigns Farnham a camp security position--provost marshall. One concern is the slaves that have just left their masters, who arrive at Ft. Monroe with food to sell but may also be spies. The able-bodied are put to work; all others are considered for deportation to Liberia. Names: Officers Phelps, Peckett; Everett Shaw.

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                                              Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                              Date:  1861-06-09

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include the duties of Provost Marshall, including the reception of runaway slaves. Mentions alerts for battle and false alarms; and illness within the regiment.

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                                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                Date:  1861-06-11

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include the expected fight at Little Bethel and the battle at Great Bethel, where fewer than fifty men were killed on the Union side. Mentions German Regiment (Col. Bendix) and Duryea's Zouaves. Description of "friendly fire" incident. Excursion proved to be the most exhausting so far.

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                                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                  Date:  1861-06-20

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  June 20, 1861. Topics include setting rumors straight. Farnham assures his wife that his chances of being killed are minimal. Notes that his provost marshal duties have lessened, possibly because fewer "negroes" are arriving, for fear that the North won't succeed! Reference to Dan Johnson and his rumors; also the secret why he returned home. Compliments for Capt. Andross, again, during Battle of Big (or Great) Bethel.

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