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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:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

Date:  1863-11-10

Resource type:   correspondence

Writes that the regiment has been on the move and has seen some fighting with the Rebels resulting in the capture of many Confederates, their officers and many weapons ; also reports Union losses at Rappahannock.

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    Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

    Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

    Date:  1863-12-06

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Letter to sister Lois about his great appreciation of receiving letters from home and their importance to him ; relates the men's hard march, camping in the the field, hardships endured including having little food to eat, of no complaints from the men regardless ; a bit of home gossip.

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      Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

      Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

      Date:  1864-02-14

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writes of returning to the regiment after a visit home, the warm welcome of his fellow soldiers and the visits he received, how lonesome he feels for his family, and how grateful he is to the kindness shown by his family to Mary Gorton, now Mary Williams. He also writes of a case of measles in the regiment.

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        Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

        Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

        Date:  1864-03-05

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics including marching out to support a cavalry raid on February 27, 1864 and returning to camp exhausted by the march through mud. He also writes about his wife, Mary Gorton Williams, hopes that his room would be empty when he returns from the army, so that he and Mary might live there. Requests postage stamps.

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          Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

          Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

          Date:  1864-03-20

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include being on picket duty and receiving his letters through the kindness of Private Francis Phillips of Westford, who walked eight miles to bring them to him. He also writes of wishing to be home for sugaring season that he was chosen editor of the next paper the Sixth Regiment Debating Society.

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            Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

            Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

            Date:  1864-04-13

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include letters he has received and news from his brother, Nathan, who is in Chicago serving in the Veteran Reserve Corps, a short list of what he has been doing, including attending a lyceum, news that Captain William B. Reynolds has been promoted to Major in the 17th Vermont Infantry Regiment, drilling practice, out of postage stamps and sends another one dollar to have some sent.

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              Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

              Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

              Date:  1864-06-25

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include Lyman’s promotion to 2nd Lieutenant of Company C, inquiries about his Canadian cousins, trying to keep cool, with a bucket of ice water to drink, needing money sent to him to pay for his new equipment as 2nd Lieutenant, a discussion about the officers in his new company, a report about the loss of prisoners by the 4th and 11th Regiments, destruction of railroad tracks and bridges.

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                Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                Date:  1864-06-28

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Writing to his father topics include receiving the $50.00 he asked for from him, a list of the expenses incurred buying equipment needed as 2nd Lieutenant, his hope that his brother Nathan will recover his health now that he has left the Service, and the confidence of the Army in Ulysses S. Grant and their hope that hard fighting is done now.

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                  Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                  Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                  Date:  1864-07-03

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Writes of a raid on the railroad line between Richmond, Virginia and Welden, North Carolina at Ream’s Station destroying tracks, his wish to be at home visiting with his brother, Nathan, the hot and dusty weather, and getting paid.

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                    Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                    Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                    Date:  1864-07-17

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include a detailed description of the Battle of Fort Stevens [July 11-12, 1864], specifically the movements of the 6th Corps. Williams also writes of the mustering out of some of the 6th Regiment, as their time had expired.

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                      Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                      Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                      Date:  1864-08-03

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Detailed list of the marches made by the 6th Vermont from July 12th through August 3rd. He also writes of visiting the burial ground of some of the soldiers from Company I at Camp Griffin and of visiting former members of Company I when in Washington D.C. siting several by name, of receiving photographs of his family, and of receiving his back pay as Sergeant but not as Lieutenant.

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                        Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                        Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                        Date:  1864-10-03

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include taking part in a raid against guerrilla fighters, capturing a large quantity of cider brandy which was drunk by both officers and men and by their guide, so that they had to turn back, and a cavalry fight on October 2 (Battle of Saltville, Va.), near their camp. He also writes of being detached to the 5th Vermont Infantry Regiment temporarily and being in command of two companies, and asks when the Town of Essex will pay the bounty to soldiers who reenlisted.

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                          Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                          Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                          Date:  1864-10-23

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Detailed description of the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864, including his account of the arrival of General Sheridan that was much welcomed by the men, its effect on the Union Army on how the lines were reformed and much captured by the Union soldiers.

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                            Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                            Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                            Date:  1864-11-01

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include wishing for letters from home, being in command of two companies and Adjutant as well, and his hopes for a leave of absence when the Brigade goes to winter quarters.

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                              Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                              Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                              Date:  1864-11-17

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include receiving a long letter from his sister, Lois, and apologizing for scolding her, complimenting her on her studies and wishing he could attend a Lyceum in which Lois is giving a paper. He also writes of the importance of getting letters from home and his promotion to 1st Lieutenant.

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                                Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                Date:  1864-12-16

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Williams describes the movement of the 6th Corps from Winchester to Petersburg, Virginia moving into the log houses built by the 2nd Corps, the neighborliness of the rebel pickets, names of people he has received letters from, news of Union General Thomas’ victory over Confederate General Hood at the Battle of Nashville (Tenn.) December 15-16, 1864, receipt of leather gloves much needed by the men.

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                                  Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                  Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                  Date:  1864-12-25

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writes of good news for the Union from various theaters of war including the fall of Savannah, Georgia with the capture of 15,000 rebel prisoners & taking of Fort Fisher, his hope to be home by next Christmas, receiving his commission as Captain of Company I and his pride in it, requests his sister send him more kid gloves for the other officers in the regiment.

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                                    Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                    Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                    Date:  1865-02-19

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include the health of the Essex boys, the size of the chapel built in camp, which can hold three hundred soldiers, the friendly banter between the pickets and the number of Confederate soldiers deserting to the Union side, his optimism about the end of the war coming soon, and how many fights he has been in.

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                                      Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                      Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                      Date:  1865-03-10

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include how busy he has been with monthly reports, the gloomy weather, news from his brother, Nathan, in Chicago, and the cheering war news. He also reports that Confederate deserters are still crossing the lines and that he thinks the war will be over in four months.

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                                        Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                        Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                        Date:  1865-03-21

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Writes being Brigade Officer of the Day, shaving off all his beard except a mustache, news of Sergeant John C. Swan who was exchanged and who reports that the rumors about Confederate treatment of prisoner is true, and that recruits are coming in from Vermont to fill the companies.

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                                          Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                          Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                          Date:  1865-04-16

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          A poem entitled "Battle of Cedar Creek" and a letter to his sister, Lois, that includes a description of the fighting the 6th Vt Vols. was involved with starting April 1st and leading to the fall of Richmond on April 3, 1865.

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                                            Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                            Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                            Date:  1865-06-03

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include marching to Washington from Richmond, sightseeing in Richmond, the possibility of a review, and rumors about an attempt by the Governor of Vermont to get the old Brigade home all at once, though Williams doesn’t think this likely.

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                                              Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Lois L. Williams

                                              Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                              Date:  1865-06-16

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Writes of going & coming back from Washington, D.C. via horseback to purchase clothes and other articles needed, mustering out the men whose time is up in October, and his decision to remain in the Army for the extra money, since he feels everyone will be mustered out in August.

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                                                Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Parents

                                                Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                                Date:  1862-07-06

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include a retreat to the James River (known later as a "great skedaddle," a word that Williams uses here but in the context of not being paid), a fight at Savage's Station, a review by General McClellan, and the men killed and wounded in the fight.

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                                                  Title:   Lyman S. Williams to Warren Williams

                                                  Creator:  Williams, Lyman S., 1839-1905

                                                  Date:  1861-10-07

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include the election of officers.

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