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William C. Holbrook Correspondence

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The son of Vermont Governor Frederick Holbrook, William C. Holbrook left his job as a clerk in Boston at the outbreak of the war to help raise a regiment of infantry. He was commissioned first lieutenant in Company F, 4th Vermont Infantry, but left the regiment for a promotion to Major in the 7th Vermont Infantry in January, 1862. Holbrook was commissioned colonel of the 7th after the death of Col. George T. Roberts in August 1862. He resigned from the 7th in June, 1865. After the war’s end, he studied law at Hrvard, graduating in 1869, and became a lawyer in New York City. He won an appointment as judge of the Court of Special Session in 1895.

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Time Period Covered: October 16, 1861 - December 9, 1862 

Parent Collections

Vermonters in the Civil War

Published:  May 12, 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:   ? to Lorenzo Thomas

Date:  1862-08-30

Resource type:   correspondence

Topics include the request to inquire after statements made by the Major General, and a request for an investigation of the Battle of Baton Rouge by a court of inquiry.

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    Title:   Francis C. Williams to Frederick Holbrook

    Creator:  Williams, Francis C.

    Date:  1862-04-25

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include the regiment being situated at Camp on Ship Island, the establishment of (religious?) services on Tuesdays, and the intellectual capacity of the men of the Vermont regiments.

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      Title:   John Wolcott Phelps to Frederick Holbrook

      Creator:  Phelps, John Wolcott

      Date:  1862-10-03

      Resource type:   correspondence

      John W. Phelps writes to Gov. Holbrook with topics including the perceived mistake of the President Abraham Lincoln in regards to the bargain the President is making with the slave states and moral issues associated with the decision.

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        Title:   N. A. M. Dudley to William C. Holbrook John Wolcott Phelps to N. A. M. Dudley

        Creator:  Dudley, N. A. M.; Phelps, John Wolcott

        Date:  1862-08-30; 1862-09-02

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Two letters; one signed by N. A. M. Dudley and the other by W. C. Holbrook requesting a Court of Inquiry to investigate allegations against the 7th Regiment participation in the Battle of Baton Rouge by a Commanding General.

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          Title:   Volney S. Fullam to B. F. Butler

          Creator:  Fullam, Volney S.

          Date:  1862-08-18

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Topics include vacancies in the regiment caused by the death and sickness of some officers, the resignation and guilt of misconduct by Lt. G. W. Sheldon, and the intention to send a list of promotions.

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            Title:   Volney S. Fullam to Frederick Holbrook

            Creator:  Fullam, Volney S.

            Date:  1862-08-18

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include recommendations for promotions to fill the vacant positions.

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              Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frank

              Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

              Date:  1862-05-01

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Writing from Ship Island to his brother Frank topics include the barbarian style of living, drills going well, good news about the Battle at Shiloh (April 6 & 7) and Yorktown (April 5 to May 4), gunboats and general good sanitary conditions of the Regiment.

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                Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frank

                Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                Date:  1862-11-21

                Resource type:   correspondence

                To his brother Frank, William writes of the findings of the Court of Inquiry that was held by General Butler regarding the conduct of the 7th Vt. Infantry Regiment during the Battle of Baton Rouge in August; his decided opinion of a soldier's unreliable word; his expectation of having comfortable living quarters in Pensacola as his regiment has moved there (to which he adds he well deserves as he has lived in "bush houses long enough"); mentions the steamer Cumbria and of his having a fever for the past several days.

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                  Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                  Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                  Date:  1861-10-28

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Writing to his father in Montpelier, Vt topics include Holbrook's desire to be appointed aide to General Phelps staff rather than Gen. Brooks', mentions names of several officers, his suggestion to appoint only West Point men to the position of Colonel, his opinion about Frank making a good Major, praise for McClellan and celebrating Thanksgiving on the wrong day.

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                    Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                    Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                    Date:  1862-04-06

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Writing to his father (Gov. Holbrook) topics include arriving at Ship Harbor Island by Ship Brenner, a description of the islands that included coconut trees, meeting with Gen. Butler and Gen. Phelps, and the location of David Dixon Porter’s fleet at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

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                      Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                      Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                      Date:  1862-05-09

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include working with the naval forces to occupy Fort Pike, La. which fell April 27, 1862. Holbrook describes the fort, the artillery left behind, and the process for allowing vessels to pass by this strategic entrance to Lake Pontchartrain, at New Orleans.

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                        Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                        Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                        Date:  1862-05-27

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Topics include the Union gaining control of New Orleans, General Shepley becoming Military Commandant of the city, and the news that the Vermont Brigade has been gaining control on the Potomac. Evaluations of Generals Butler and Shepley. Also mentions the "contrabands" or slaves coming within Union lines. (Butler would later start recruiting African Americans to be Union soldiers.)

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                          Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                          Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                          Date:  1862-07-01

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Writing to his father, Gov. Holbrook, from the steamer, Morning Sight near Vicksburg topics include asking if he can have a battery to command, mentions Fort Pike, the desire to join the artillery service, the hope to be given captaincy, and the slow bombardments by the rebels but there was an attack by 3000 Confederates thinking to board the Union mortar boats only to be beaten back when fired upon.

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                            Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                            Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                            Date:  1862-07-07

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Written on illustrated letter head stationery from near Vicksburg William writes to his father, Gov. Holbrook and topics include Colonel Roberts coming to New Orleans, the rebels erecting their batteries in Grand Gulf and firing upon the Union boats coming up the river, and the possibility that the regiment will be ordered to Baton Rouge.

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                              Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                              Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                              Date:  1862-07-29

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Topics include returning to Baton Rouge and the comforts that came with this move, expresses his decided opinion on the ramifications of releasing “unlettered Negroes” (i.e. slaves), feels the blacks are well enough cared for in general, speaks against blacks as a possible fighting force, the treatment of the slaves who enter Union lines by the Union soldiers, feels politicians need to experience first hand the habits of black slaves of the south and not hold such lofty ideals, the attempted “cut off” of the Mississippi River by the Union, and the death of W. C. Holbrook’s grandfather.

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                                Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                Date:  1862-08-08

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include a description of the battle at Baton Rouge on August 5th, expresses his thoughts that the Rebels received misinformation about the strength of the Union forces thus suffering great losses, blowing up of a Rebel boat that was part of a CSA plan to attack Union gunboats, mentions "ram On Ransom", the death of Colonel George T. Roberts and General Williams.

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                                  Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                  Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                  Date:  1862-08-17

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include William's recommendation for and praise of Ad. Brown being promoted to Major, mentions Brown's performance in the inconclusive battle at Savage's Station (June 29, 1862 in Va.), a bitter feeling against Colonel Faillam by the men of the regiment, and the belief a West Pointer should head the regiment.

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                                    Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                    Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                    Date:  1862-09-24

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    To Gov. Holbrook with topics including the resignation of 1st Lieutenant Howard of Company G; the recommendations for the position, effects of illness at Vicksburg creating vacancies; the difficulty of finding replacements because of the “infamous Order”, still seeks info about the establishment of a court of inquiry; his expression of anger and disgust at how the Dept. is being run and writes of the proposition that he (William) tender his resignation.

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                                      Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                      Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                      Date:  1862-11-25

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      From New Orleans to his father Gov. Holbrook, William writes of the arrival of Dr. Langdon and Dr. Foster with Chaplain Hopkins on the steamer McClellan; of news that they bring regarding the government adhering to its bargain; his praise of these men; the regiment residing at Pensacola, his recommendation of distinguishing between the assistant surgeons just in case the positions are ever vacant (thus leaving him in a delicate position at some point) and the expectation to receive orders to head North.

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                                        Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                        Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                        Date:  1862-12-09

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        To his father topics include the sickness of the regiment (mentions miasma, vapors from swamp believed to cause disease), mentions scorbutic appearance of the sick (relating to scurvy), a description of Pensacola Harbor, and very high praise for the Chaplain for all he has done for the men.

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                                          Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                          Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                          Date:  1862-07-23

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Writing to his father, Gov. Holbrook, topics include the need for medical aid because of the numerous men who are sick due to lack of sanitation, unhealthy environment (mentions miasma, vapor from swamp believed to cause disease) and lack of medicine because of some blunder, speaks of doctors doing what they can with what little they have to do with and praise for Dr. Blanchard; the rebel batteries firing upon a boat, and Adj. Parker going home on sick leave.

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                                            Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                            Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                            Date:  1862-08-20

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include a list of recommendations for promotions made by Holbrook.

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                                              Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                              Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                              Date:  1862-08-27

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include the resignation of Colonel Fullam, the promotion of Holbrook to Colonel, and the recommendation that Captain Peck be promoted to Lt. Col.

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                                                Title:   William C. Holbrook to Frederick Holbrook

                                                Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                                Date:  1862-11-05

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include a description of the Court of Inquiry that was held by General Butler, his disdain for Gen. Butler; sending men to Vt to recruit for the regiment, the wish to establish recruiting stations by the Canadian border, praise for the French Canadians as soldiers and recommending the Quartermaster Morse for a promotion.

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                                                  Title:   William C. Holbrook to Mother

                                                  Creator:  Holbrook, William Cune, 1842-1904

                                                  Date:  1861-10-16

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include the movement of the regiment from Camp Advance to Camp Griffin, an alarm caused by the Dutchmen mistaking a calf for the rebels, Union officers receive praise from Holbrook (McClellan) as does the unit he is in from officers Col Stoughton and Gen Smith and a description of the living situation at camp that include good food, sleeping on the ground and sending money back home.

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