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William Wirt Henry Correspondence Civil War Correspondence of William Wirt Henry

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William Wirt Henry was born on November 21, 1831, in Waterbury, Vermont, the eldest child of James Madison Henry (1809-1863) and Matilda Gale Henry (1811-1888). William Wirt Henry was educated in the schools of Waterbury and spent one term at People's Academy in Morrisville. William taught school for one winter (1849-50) in Wolcott, Vermont, and then caught "gold fever" and moved to California to seek his fortune. He returned to Vermont in 1857 and joined his father's druggist business, J. M. Henry & Sons. In 1861 he sold his interest in the business and enlisted as a first lieutenant in Co. D of the Second Vermont Volunteers. He resigned November 5, 1861, and then reenlisted as a major in the Tenth Vermont Infantry. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in November 1862 and to colonel in June 1864. He resigned December 17, 1864, and was made brevet brigadier general on March 7, 1865. He was wounded in the battles of Cold Harbor and Cedar Creek.

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Time Period Covered: August 7, 1861 - November 13, 1863  September 27, 1861 - November 4, 1861 

Parent Collections

Vermonters in the Civil War

Related Archival Collection(s)

William Wirt Henry Family Papers



Published:  March 22, 2011,  University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Center for Digital Initiatives

Rights:  Requests to reproduce this item should be sent to Vermont Historical Society Library, vhs-library@state.vt.us. For more information, see http://cdi.uvm.edu/about/rights. More information.

Collection Overview

William Wirt Henry was born on November 21, 1831, in Waterbury, Vermont, the eldest child of James Madison Henry (1809-1863) and Matilda Gale Henry (1811-1888). William Wirt Henry was educated in the schools of Waterbury and spent one term at People's Academy in Morrisville. William taught school for one winter (1849-50) in Wolcott, Vermont, and then caught "gold fever" and moved to California to seek his fortune. He returned to Vermont in 1857 and joined his father's druggist business, J. M. Henry & Sons. In 1861 he sold his interest in the business and enlisted as a first lieutenant in Co. D of the Second Vermont Volunteers. He resigned November 5, 1861, and then reenlisted as a major in the Tenth Vermont Infantry. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in November 1862 and to colonel in June 1864. He resigned December 17, 1864, and was made brevet brigadier general on March 7, 1865. He was wounded in the battles of Cold Harbor and Cedar Creek.

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Time Period Covered: August 7, 1861 - November 13, 1863  September 27, 1861 - November 4, 1861 

Parent Collections

Vermonters in the Civil War

Published:  March 22, 2011,  University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Center for Digital Initiatives

Rights:  Requests to reproduce this item should be sent to the UVM Libraries' Center for Digital Initiatives at cdi@uvm.edu. For more information, see http://cdi.uvm.edu/about/rights. More information.


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Title:   William Wirt Henry to John Henry

Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

Date:  1861-10-12

Resource type:   correspondence

Writes from Camp Griffin near Lewinsville about eating too many chestnuts that made him sick, of family business, of having had enough war and ready to go home.

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    Title:   William Wirt Henry to John Henry

    Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

    Date:  1862-09-01

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include the continued sickness of Katie, being mustered into the United States Service, and the commission as Major of the 10th Regiment.

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      Title:   William Wirt Henry to John Henry

      Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

      Date:  1862-09-11

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writing from Camp Chase, Va. topics include the death of Henry's sister Katie and the journey to Camp from Brattleboro, aboard the train to New Haven, on the steamer Continental to New York, on to Philadelphia and then to Baltimore and finally Washington, D.C. and on to his camp just beyond Fairfax, Va.under the command of Brig. Gen. Briggs of MA

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        Title:   William Wirt Henry to John Henry

        Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

        Date:  1862-10-17

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Writes of his religious faith, of his wife's "hour of trouble", the regiment being under a new general (Brigadier General Cuvier Grover, III Corps, Army of the Potomac), the resignation of Lieutenant Colonel Edson and the likely promotion of himself from Major to Lt. Col.

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          Title:   William Wirt Henry to John Henry

          Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

          Date:  1863-01-27

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Letter giving details some of camp life, and activities while at winter quarters. Discusses dinner with Mr. Trundell, a prominent Maryland family, news concerning friends, family and plans for Mary Jane to come visit.

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            Title:   William Wirt Henry to John Henry

            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

            Date:  1863-06-10

            Resource type:   correspondence

            News about the money sent home, wishing his family was in camp with him especially his young daughter, admonishing his wife to practice riding so she can ride with him when she comes South, states other wives are planning to be in camp next winter, credits his "old saddle horse" as being the best riding horse.

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              Title:   William Wirt Henry to John Henry

              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

              Date:  1863-09-10

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Written in the field, letter discusses General Morris’ leave of absence, which would leave Major Henry in charge of the Brigade as ranking officer, as well as the possible quick return of Colonel Jewett when he finds out that he would be in command of the Brigade.

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                Title:   William Wirt Henry to John Henry

                Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                Date:  1863-09-14

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Letter discusses his being appointed Division Officer of the Day, of fighting with cannon fire being heard, of indifference to it, the questionable behavior of Colonel A. B. Jewett, complains Jewett becomes ill whenever difficulties arise and Henry has to do the work, requests that the information provided remain confidential. The arrival of the paymaster with intention of sending money home soon, as well as the behavior of Justin (possibly Justin Carter).

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                  Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                  Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                  Date:  1861-09-27

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  September 9, 1861 from Camp Advance near Chain Bridge. Writes of the men being sent out to steal food near Lewinsville, Leesburgh road, casualties, picket duty.

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                    Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                    Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                    Date:  1861-09-29

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    September 29, 1861 from Camp Advance, Virginia. Writes of Second Vermont ordered out, casualties due to troop confusion and friendly fire, Munsons Hill, picket duty.

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                      Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                      Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                      Date:  1861-10-08

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      October 8, 1861 from Camp Advance, Virginia. Writes of kindness from Col Stannard, wet weather, grand review of artillery by Genl. McClellan, illness among the men including homesickness and Typhoid Fever, family business.

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                        Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                        Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                        Date:  1861-10-16

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Writes of feeling better from eating to many chestnuts, took Hibbards Pills, rustling cattle, pickets meeting up with Rebels with some, mentions friends and family life, misses his wife and young daughter Mollie.

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                          Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                          Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                          Date:  1861-11-04

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Writes of waiting for discharge papers from Washington, D.C. and complains of how long it is taking, willing to wait for Vermont soldiers to be paid so he can bring the pay home to their families, no military action except a lot of drilling.

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                            Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                            Date:  1862-01-19

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include William Henry's arrival at Camp Griffin, Virginia ; the men petitioning for Lt. Henry to be their captain ; mentions not yet receiving Elixir yet but has high hopes of sell a lot of it.

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                              Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                              Date:  1862-01-22

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include Captain Dillingham returning to Brattleboro, the recommendation of Lieutenant Johnson for Captain, deep mud all over camp restricting movement, expecting the Elixir soon and hopes to sell it, the number of deaths in the regiment, and a description of Ed Wells.

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                                Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                Date:  1862-01-26

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include the hardships of camp life, the sickness of Henry Daniels, wishing to be on his way home, selling the Elixir and liniment for twenty five dollars in two days.

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                                  Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                  Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                  Date:  1862-02-03

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include the terrible muddy weather at Camp Griffin, Va. restricting moving about, not selling much Elixir due to the mud and restriction of movement, the living arrangements with Dr. Carpenter, how he spends his time in camp with visiting, going to the Sutlers, playing a card game Euchre with Col. Stannard, wishing to be home to play with his young daughter and sends money home to his wife.

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                                    Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                    Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                    Date:  1862-02-09

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include Captain Johnson taking command of Company D, the illness of a few men, the possibility of Ned Wells returning home, Henry's side business not doing as well now as the men are out of money to spend, mud prevents drills so men study tactics and go on picket only once every five days.

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                                      Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                      Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                      Date:  1862-02-14

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include William Henry missing his wife, having gained weight and health is good, of being glad he did not become the Captain of Company D, reference to a bill to disband the Bands, mentions his side business of selling to the men being pretty slim as he has "got them most all cured up", reference to the fall of Roanoke Island, North Carolina (February 7& 8, 1862) under the leadership of Ambrose Burnside, has sent money home,

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                                        Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                        Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                        Date:  1862-02-16

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Still at Camp Griffin, Va. topics include a love letter to William Henry's wife, the expected discharge of Ned Wells, of himself heading for home even if Wells is not discharged.

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                                          Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                          Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                          Date:  1862-02-23

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include a travel route planned to return home via Annapolis, Brattleboro and maybe even Burlington, the capture of 18 Rebel prisoners near Fairfax, and the hope of one of the wounded prisoners, a Virginian, to retake the oath to become a citizen of the United States again, reference to a Flag of Truce to send a letter to the Confederate Army, his side business doing poorly as the men have expected orders to move and the Sutlers not buying for the same reason.

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                                            Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                            Date:  1862-08-13

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            A brief letter writing from camp in Brattleboro, Vt. topics include the birth of Henry's baby boy and a possible promotion to Major.

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                                              Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                              Date:  1862-08-15

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              A very brief letter from Camp Washburn topics include inquiries after the well being of his baby boy and the anticipated promotion to Major.

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                                                Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                                Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                                Date:  1862-08-18

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Writing from Camp Bradley (later Camp Holbrook) in Brattleboro, Vt. topics include anxious to see his baby boy, continued anticipation of appointment to Major and as acting Adjutant for 11th Regt.until Mr. Curtis of Burlington arrives.

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                                                  Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                                  Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                                  Date:  1862-08-22

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include the poor health of William Henry's sister Katie and the appointment of Acting Major.

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