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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:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

Date:  1862-05-08

Resource type:   correspondence

Towle's regiment pursues the Rebels after finding their hasty departure from their camps. The men marched to the enemy's strong holds at Williamsburg, Virginia including Fort Magruder and a battle was fought. Killed and wounded reported. Soldiers had to endure heavy rain and muddy conditions. Some men did reconnaissance.

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    Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

    Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

    Date:  1862-06-03

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Writing from in the field near Richmond, Va. topics include a detailed description of Company E at Lees Mills and speaks well of officers (Pingree, Terry). He criticizes a fellow soldier for shirking duty and writes of fighting of the the union and rebel batteries.

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      Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

      Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

      Date:  1862-06-10

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writing seven miles from Richmond topics include packing up camp and marching at 10pm, a terrible rain storm that soaked the men, of sick soldiers including Towle.

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        Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

        Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

        Date:  1862-06-14

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Still in the field near Richmond, Va topics include the Battle of Richmond being fought since May 31, soldiers wounded and killed by Rebel fire, shell fire by the Rebels, balloon reconnaissance.

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          Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

          Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

          Date:  1862-06-16

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Writing from the field topics include cleaning up the streets of Richmond, Va., Rebel and Union pickets conversing and trading bread and whiskey, the hot weather causing Sun Stroke, and building bridges and shoring up roads to ease the difficulty of moving the heavy artillery on the soft roads.

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            Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

            Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

            Date:  1862-06-18

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Towle writes from the field near Richmond, Va on heavy firing between Union gun boats on James River and Fort Darlin, an exchange of fire with the enemy, the seemingly deterioration of Gen. McClellan's appearance and the arrest of Colonel Stoughton for not turning out with his regiment to in line of battle.

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              Title:   Ransom W. Towle to [Family and Friends]

              Creator:  Towle, Ransom W., d. 1864

              Date:  1862-06-19

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include the Massachusetts 16th Regiment pushing the rebels back in heavy fighting with the Rebels in rifle pits, soldiers killed (74), prisoners taken (16) and preparations being made to move out in anticipation of battle the next day.

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                Title:   Report

                Date:  1862-12-12

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include a pass allowing Col. Roswell Farnham of the 12th Vermont Volunteers to travel to Washington D.C. as approved by Col. Asa P. Blunt and Brig. Genl S. H. Stoughton.

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                  Title:   Report

                  Date:  1862-12-15

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Pass for Roswell Farnham to return from Washington to the 12th Vermont Volunteers camp by order of Col. A. P. Blunt and approved by Brig Genl E. H. Stoughton and Geo W. Hooker.

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                    Title:   Report

                    Date:  1863-03-09

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    A pass for Roswell Farnham to go to Washington for 48 hours signed by Col Commanding Asa P. Blunt.

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                      Title:   Report

                      Date:  1863-05-22

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include a pass for Roswell Farnham to go to Washington with a valise that has signatures of three officers and a note stating he left camp June 2nd.

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                        Title:   Report

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        A list of the distribution of soldiers on picket duty for the officer of Provost Marshal, for Yates Ford, Island Ford, Woodyard's Ford, McLane's Ford.

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                          Title:   Report

                          Date:  1864-01-28

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include a list of munitions (guns, bullets, etc.) received from Holbrook including the names of two soldiers unfit for issue.

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                            Title:   Report of property found in the several companies of the 1st Vermont Regiment…

                            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                            Date:  1861-06-24

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            List compiled by Farnham of items found or stolen from citizens by soldiers during a campaign.

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                              Title:   Roswell Farnham to ?

                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                              Date:  1862-09-22

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              A special order for the Twelfth Regiments to report to Brattleboro.

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                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to Asa P. Blunt

                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                Date:  1863-03-03

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Report to Col Asa P. Blunt regarding an inspection of several items including saddles, horses and bugles in the Second Connecticut Battery stationed at Wolf Run Shoals, Virginia stating the unfitness of some horses for duty and the disrepair of two bugles.

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                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to Ben

                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                  Date:  1863-05-07

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include being 21 miles away from the rest of the brigade, possibility of moving to the Rappahannock thus nearer to Kelly's Ford & the front, reports from Contrabands and refugees of fighting at Gordonville, relates again of the attack by Confederate commander John Singleton Mosby’s cavalry on Union Cavalry & of his defeat in that fight, of guarding the road so that Gen. Joseph Hooker’s army can receive supplies, and the rainy weather.

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                                    Title:   Roswell Farnham to C. H. Harding

                                    Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                    Date:  1861-05-07

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Farnham's regiment in Rutland gets the news that they are to leave for Fort Monroe, Va., via rail car and then boat. News of the deployment raises morale; the men are ready for a good fight (recurring theme in Farnham's letters).

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                                      Title:   Roswell Farnham to Edwin H. Stoughton

                                      Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                      Date:  1863-01-12

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Writing from camp near Fairfax, Virginia to Brig. Gen. Stoughton this report includes placement of various troops including the 12th Vt. Vol. Militia regiment moving to the stone bridge, the passing of two bodies of cavalry, and a picket in the rear to look out for rebels.

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                                        Title:   Roswell Farnham to Frederick Holbrook

                                        Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                        Date:  1863-03-10

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        To the Governor of Vermont, Frederick Holbrook regarding names recommended for promotions, reporting Colonel Blunt at Fairfax Station, and the capture of General Stoughton.

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                                          Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                          Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                          Date:  1862-12-14

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Farnham writes to his sister, Laura, about the regiment moving to a new camp near Fairfax Courthouse (Fairfax, Virginia), the arrival of Mary Farnham and Mrs. Blunt, the movement of General Sigel and his 20 to 40,000 troops, and reference to the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia (Dec 11-15).

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                                            Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                            Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                            Date:  1862-12-31

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Farnham writes from Camp Vermont near Fairfax Court House, Va. to his sister, Laura, of rebel threatening, of military action with the rebels, of Col. Stoughton's entry into the rebel camp, of wife Mary's reaction to gunfire, of Jackson and his 12,000 men on the march maybe to Harper's Ferry.

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                                              Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                              Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                              Date:  1863-01-22

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Writing to sister Laura, topics include having to march to near Wolf Run Ford on the Occoquan River, Virginia, Farnham’s wife, Mary, staying at Mr. Whiley's, roads awful making the horses pull through fields and woods, troops carried their tents but the officers are waiting delivery of their tents, he now "at the front," rebel forces at Brentsville, explanation of what the pickets do and the death of Stratton of Fairlee of smallpox.

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                                                Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                                Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                Date:  1863-02-01

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Letter includes two drawings, one of a stockaded tent the soldiers have done and one of Farnham's cabin, all at Wolf Run Shoals, Va., a description of camp life and conditions, his sister Mary’s visit to camp, the mud and snow, and reconsidering sending money home to repay debts.

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                                                  Title:   Roswell Farnham to Laura

                                                  Creator:  Farnham, Roswell, 1827-1903

                                                  Date:  1863-02-10

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Two letters dated Feb 10 and Feb. 15. Topics include the costs of newspapers and magazines, the chain of custody of Laura’s braids of hair, comfortable living conditions at the moment, Mary’s visit in camp, mention of a map sent to Charlie, news of friends seen, a trip to Washington where they saw actress Maggie Mitchell (she was a Confederate sympathizer and friend of John Wilkes Booth), an incident with their dog, suggestions on refurbishing the house and money sent home.

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