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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 Bruidnell and Francis Finnegan to William Wirt Henry

Creator:  Bruidnell, William, b. 1842; Finnegan

Date:  1862-08-09

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include a request for pay amounting to $116 and an update on the leaders of the Vermont Regiment.

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    Title:   William Bruidnell and Samuel Morey to William Wirt Henry

    Creator:  Bruidnell, William, b. 1842; Morey

    Date:  1862-07-19

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include a description of the Battle of Mechanicsville (June 26-27, 1862), part of the Seven Days campaign near Richmond.

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      Title:   William Bruidnell to William Wirt Henry

      Creator:  Bruidnell, William, b. 1842

      Date:  1862-05-25

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Topics include the good health of everyone except Tilton Sleeper, the hope of taking Richmond from the rebels, and the good weather near Cool Harbor, Virginia.

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        Title:   William Wirt Henry to James Edwin Henry

        Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

        Date:  1863-09-11

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Quiet now, no action, just picket and drill. Also this letter to his brother, James Edwin Henry, discusses an advertisement for a patent medicine sold by his business in Vermont that is causing problems for their surgeon Dr. Willard A. Childe, and asking that the advertisement be removed. He also writes of a soldier named Justin (possibly Justin Carter), the difficulty he has had in keeping him from being cashiered and of praise from General Meade.

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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 John Henry

                    Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                    Date:  1861-10-08

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    October 8, 1861 from Camp Advance, Virginia near Chain Bridge. Writes of family business, men to camp for the winter a little south of Virginia, desire to be Quartermaster.

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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 Mary Jane Henry

                            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                            Date:  1862-10-05

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include being at camp at Seneca Locks, Md., sorrow over the death of his sister, how he likes being the major of the regiment, guarding a supply depot on the Potomac canal, and a religious service by the regimental chaplain.

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                              Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                              Date:  1862-10-09

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              A brief letter mentioning receiving letters from home, that he is in good health, states that folks back home get more regular news updates than he does.

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                                Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                Date:  1862-10-13

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Expresses big disappointment about preparing for a raid by Confederate General Jeb Stuart that never happened due to a Union military blunder, a pontoon bridge at Edward's Ferry (between Virginia and Maryland), mentions the names of several men regarding sickness in the regiment's companies, sends kisses to his children.

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                                  Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                  Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                  Date:  1862-10-19

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Two letters included (Oct 19 and Oct 21). Writes of the possibility of the officers bring their wives to visit when the regiment goes into winter camp, being part of a new brigade, his name being submitted to fill the vacant Lieutenant Colonel’s position, glad to receive the daily journal from home.

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                                    Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                    Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                    Date:  1862-10-26

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Two letters dated Oct 26 and Oct 28, asking his wife not to be depressed over him being gone, who his mess mates are (Col. Jewett, Surgeon Willard Augustus Childe, Dr. Joseph Chase Rutherford, Almon Clark, Quartermaster A. B. Valentine, Sutler Reed Bascom & Sutler George Skiff), having a kitchen and dinning room in his current log cabin, having a stewed rabbit for dinner, and family matters.

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                                      Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                      Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                      Date:  1862-11-02

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Brief letter stating receiving a letter from his wife with photographs, his being promoted to lieutenant colonel, and hearing fighting in the distance.

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                                        Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                        Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                        Date:  1862-11-02

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Writes as cannon fire shakes the ground in camp, speculates that this a big battle (There was a naval assault on Fort McAllister), reflects on hoping this battle will help end the war, is acting Lt. Col., wonders who might replace him as major, sickness in camp, and family matters including receiving photographs of his wife.

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                                          Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                          Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                          Date:  1862-11-15

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Brief letter stating he has been in charge of the Regiment since the Colonel is gone to Washington to get his wife, Henry camped 13 miles from Washington to which he will go to get money and request a furlough to be home for Thanksgiving.

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                                            Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                            Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                            Date:  1862-11-23

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Writes of wanting to go home to see his wife or her coming to the camp in Md., how muddy it is in camp, knows soldiers in the Advance are marching, suffering from cold, rain & mud while he has a comfortable tent, wanting the war to end quickly, the health of the regiment is better, wishing for more letters from home.

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                                              Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                              Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                              Date:  1862-11-25

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include having his leave of absence denied, disappointed but being philosophical about it, wanting to get a photograph of himself as a Lieutenant Colonel to send home, and family matters.

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                                                Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                                Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                                Date:  1862-11-30

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Heart broken he not with wife for Thanksgiving, Capt. Dillingham rounding up Marylanders for the draft, a report on the health of several members or the regiment, anxious for letters from home.

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                                                  Title:   William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

                                                  Creator:  Henry, William Wirt, 1831-1915

                                                  Date:  1862-12-02

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  A very short note stating he will send recent photographs of himself home for wife to distribute as she see fit, photo negative exists and more photos can be made if desired, reference to Capt. Dillingham and letter from Sister Katie Parker.

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