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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:  1862-10-21

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include Roswell Farnham’s foot injury.

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    Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

    Date:  1862-10-23

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include the improvement of Roswell Farnham’s foot injury, the cold weather at camp, and the number of regiments joining the camp.

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      Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

      Date:  1862-11-20

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Farnham writes from Camp Vermont about preparations for his wife, Mary's visit to camp, about how comfortable their dwelling will be, how he will meet up with her once she arrives, reference to a new sutler, and mentions other wives coming to visit.

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        Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

        Date:  1862-10-17

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include performing several hours of battalion drills and reviews, rumors that the regiment will remain in Washington through the winter, and inquiries about the people at home.

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          Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

          Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

          Date:  1862-10-20

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include Roswell Farnham having a difficult time controlling his horse and an injury sustained as a result.

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            Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

            Date:  1862-10-29

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include the continued improvement of Roswell Farnham’s foot injury and orders to march the next day.

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              Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

              Date:  1862-11-02

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include the movement of the regiment from Capitol Hill to Camp Seward and down across Hunting Creek and finally setting up camp on the Potomac near Mount Vernon.

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                Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                Date:  1862-11-06

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include the possibility of Roswell Farnham being promoted to Colonel if Colonel Blunt is promoted, the potential for the regiment to move, and business from home.

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                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                  Date:  1862-11-09

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Farnham writes from nearby Hunting Creek, Virginia at the headquarters of the 12th Vermont Volunteers about the cold weather in the South, eleven sick in the hospital, two of which had shot themselves. Reference made to Gen. McClellan being superseded by Gen. Burnside.

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                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                    Date:  1862-10-26

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the improvement of Roswell Farnham’s foot injury and money issues at home.

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                      Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                      Date:  1862-11-14

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Writes from Camp Vermont, 12th Regiment Vermont Volunteers headquarters to his wife, Mary, of officers' huts being built, of his visit to Washington's estate Mt. Vernon, description of the grounds and tombs of George and Martha, arrangements for when Mary comes to visit, and of a battalion drill.

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                        Title:   Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

                        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                        Date:  1862-11-12

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Farnham writes from Camp Vermont headquarters of the 12th Regiment Vermont Volunteers to his wife, Mary, about her preparing for a visit to camp, what needed items she might bring and what discomforts she might expect living in a small hut he is building. He mentions other wives visiting their spouses, Mrs. Blunt and Mrs. Vaughn. Writes of anticipation of homesickness.

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                          Title:   S. P. Heintzleman to ?

                          Creator:  Heintzleman, S. P.

                          Date:  1861-06-05

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include orders prohibiting anyone from entering the premises or grounds of G. Mason.

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                            Title:   Salmon Dutton to John Wolcott Phelps

                            Creator:  Dutton, Salmon

                            Date:  1861-09-07

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include Salmon Dutton requesting the position of Brig. Gen. John Wolcott Phelps' "Aides de Camp". Dutton outlines at length his military experience and with whom he has served. Mentions General William F. Smith, Col. Barker, Captain Tuttle, Major General McClellan, General King.

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                              Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to ?

                              Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                              Date:  1862-12-10

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Heaton writes that he is sending money home ($20), and that he needs $1 in postage stamps sent to him (the rest can go toward Lucy's board at school during the winter). His camp site, Belle Plains, Va., lies just east of Fredericksburg, the site of a major battle (Dec. 11-15, 1862) that began a day after Heaton wrote this note; hence, the need to be ready with sixty rounds of "catridges."

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                                Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Family

                                Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                                Date:  1861-07-30

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include an account of the journey from Camp Baxter.

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                                  Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

                                  Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                                  Date:  1863-10-04

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Writing a brief letter to his father, Solomon G. Heaton’s states his dislike for General Mead of the Army of the Potomac, mention of Gen. McClellan and requests several clothing items to be sent from home including boots, gloves and food such as tea, cheese, bread, maple sugar.

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                                    Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

                                    Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                                    Date:  1863-11-24

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include the anticipated move of the army, the branding and branding of two soldiers, disapproves of this action by the army, requests food and clothing from home.

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                                      Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

                                      Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                                      Date:  1861-11-17

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the cold weather at Camp Griffin.

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                                        Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Father

                                        Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                                        Date:  1862-10-30

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        As Heaton indicates, the Army of the Potomac crossed the river into Virginia at the time this letter was written (Gen. George McClellan would soon be removed, however, and succeeded by Gen. Ambrose Burnside). There is no record of a "very hard fight" at Gordonsville, Va. Gen. Wm. Buel Franklin was implicated in some intrigue against Burnside, and both were relieved of their command in Jan., 1863. Heaton complains about harsh treatment by his commanding officer and being denied a rubber blanket. Nevertheless, he claims to be in good spirits.

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                                          Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Mother

                                          Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                                          Date:  1861-12-25

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include a brief account of Thanksgiving and Christmas at Camp Griffin.

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                                            Title:   Solomon G. Heaton to Mother

                                            Creator:  Heaton, Solomon G.

                                            Date:  1862-03-17

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            With Heaton's words, "the great Army of the Potomac has at last started," we get a sense of impatience, on the soldier's part, with Gen. George McClellan's well-known reluctance to send men into battle. The date of this letter coincides within the beginning of the Peninsula Campaign, which deployed over 121,000 Union soldiers. Perhaps Heaton's regiment, camped somewhere in Virginia, is about to meet up with this "offul Army down on the co[a]st it numbers 90 thousand men" as part of the Campaign. He notes some of the destruction left behind by retreating rebels, most notably the burned homes near Fairfax courthouse, supposedly where George and Martha Washington were married. (The home owned by Martha Custis, Washington's betrothed, was indeed burned in 1862 because of the war. This is believed to have been a likely site of the marriage in early January, 1759.) Other place names mentioned: Mannassas, Centerville.

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                                              Title:   Theodore Barton to Sister

                                              Creator:  Barton, Theodore

                                              Date:  1862-09-29

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include the journey from Harrison's Landing to Boliver via Newport News and Alexandria. Names several wounded and deceased soldiers, perhaps known by his sister. Concludes with a somewhat gruesome description of "picnic."

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                                                Title:   Thomas H. Halsey to John Wolcott Phelps

                                                Creator:  Halsey, Thomas H.

                                                Date:  1861-09-05

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include John Wolcott Phelps' pay as Colonel for the 1st Vermont Volunteers and as Brigadier General once he accepts the position.

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                                                  Title:   Unidentified Map

                                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Map that shows major landmarks such as Fortress Monroe, Hampton, and Camp Butler on the James River; and sites having to do with the Battle of Big Bethel, e.g. Big & Little Bethel (meeting houses), "Battlefield," and "Collision between U.S. forces," just south of Little Bethel.

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