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Joseph Spafford Correspondence

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Collection Overview

Joseph Spafford served in the 4th and 16th Vermont Infantry Regiments. His letters are written to his mother and to his sister, M. Jane Spafford, in Upper Falls, Vt. (a village in Weathersfield), as well as to a friend, Homer White, in New York City.

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Time Period Covered: September 15, 1861 - July 23, 1863 

Parent Collections

Vermonters in the Civil War

Related Archival Collection(s)

Joseph Spafford Papers

Published:  December 08, 2010,  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.


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Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

Date:  1862-03-30

Resource type:   correspondence

Still writing from the Mansion House Hospital, topics include listening to the rattling of the soldiers' swords as they pass on the sidewalk outside the hospital, commenting on the number of regiments going down the river, and news of home.

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    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

    Date:  1862-04-02

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Spafford continues to write from the Mansion House Hospital on topics that include worrying about his mother’s health, difficulty of getting a furlough, commenting on his preference to be a 2nd lieutenant and not a captain, detailed description of a day in the hospital, rules posted in the hospital, a dialogue he had with a drunken soldier from a California regiment, and description of a visit by a Vermonter from Windsor.

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      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

      Date:  1862-04-20

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writing from the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia a very brief note to his sister of leaving for Washington and not for her to write to him again at this address.

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        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

        Date:  1862-04-27

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Writing from Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C. topics include the probability of a military discharge, hospital nurses, unhealthiness of hospitals, liking his living situation in the barracks, and fiddle playing and dancing heard coming from a nearby house.

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          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

          Date:  1862-05-06

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Writing his sister from Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C. topics include worry about not receiving letters from home and his general good health.

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            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

            Date:  1861-10-8

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Writes of good postal service on letter delivery, of Sargent Charley Reed, of Captain Altherton, of wanting a photograph of Homer, general good health of the men, a heavy rain storm that flooded his tent, of going out on Battalion drill.

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              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

              Date:  1861-10-30

              Resource type:   correspondence

              October 30, 1861. Topics include the postponement of a review of the Army of the Potomac, the numerous regiments at Camp Griffin, Virginia, a prediction of a move to Vienna after a naval strike, requests for stocking yarn, sealing wax and two sealing stamps, a daguerreotype photographer to travel with the regiment, mentions pay, the need to purchase shoes, going to the sutler for butter, general health of the men, praises the surgeon,

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                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                Date:  1861-11-04

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include Battalion and Regiment drills, having had a photograph taken of him, arrangements for Joseph Spafford's mother and sister to send him items and food from home, has received gloves from home, getting writing materials from the sutler, illness among the men, death from disease, personal family matter, wants lyrics sent to the song "Rock me to sleep".

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                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                  Date:  1861-11-10

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Writes of how a box can be sent, desire for larger size boots, stockings, apples, Meerschaumn pipe

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                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                    Date:  1861-12-19

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Topics include the arrival of a box from Weathersfield containing bedding, stockings, mittens, discussion of who is most likely to get promotions, illness among the men including hernias, heart and consumption, .

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                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                      Date:  1861-12-19

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Topics include Joseph Spafford not going to Washington as planned because he did not have a pass, mentions women's sewing circle at home, of being a member of a reading circle and of "being deprived of female society".

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                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                        Date:  1862-01-02

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Written to his sister from his Virginia camp, topic include politics of promotion and his chances of getting promoted, theft in the Regiments, photographs, and the opium habit of an unnamed soldier from Jamaica, Vermont.

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                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                          Date:  1862-01-28

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          A very brief letter mentions continued rainy weather and deep mud; also a comrade has typhoid fever and not expected to live.

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                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                            Date:  1862-01-30

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Spafford's brief letter has an underlying tone of being anxious to hear from home. The rainy and muddy weather continue.

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                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                              Date:  1862-03-25

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Writing from the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria VA, topics include difficulty in getting a furlough at the present time, illness among others at the hospital from the Regiment, and the keeping and responsibility of using the Company's money for needed purchases for the men.

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                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                Date:  [1861-09-16]

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Spafford writes from Brattleboro of the possibility of his sister and Lizzie visiting him before departure, of his time consuming duties as Orderly, of Captain A's wife already having come for a visit.

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                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                  Date:  1861-12-08

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include Captain Atherton expected arrival in Cavendish to recruit men for the regiment, the sending of a photograph, reference to Laurence, the daguerreotype man from Chester who will be taking pictures of the 2nd Vermont Regiment.

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                                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                    Date:  1861-12-15

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Topics include winter quarters in a pine woods, officers to have log cabins, he using the Captain's tent with plenty of bed clothes, inquiries about home, seeks opinion of the war from home, sending hard crackers home, poor writing ink.

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                                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                      Date:  1862-01-26

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include resignation of officers and promotions of new officers, pay, visiting the 3rd Vermont, sickness in the Regiment, getting vaccinated for small pox, and rumors of marching orders.

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                                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                        Date:  1862-03-06

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Spafford writes of difficulty of getting postage stamps in the correct amount needed to mail letters home and that the prepared rations ordered for possible march on Feb 27th were consumed in camp.

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  1862-03-15

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Topics include being unable to march with the Regiment when orders came down to move out, of his dislike of how the hospital was run in Camp Griffin and him leaving that hospital, of living in tent with soldier who also had not moved out with the earlier call to march, being sent by ambulance to the Mansion House Hospital in Alexandria, being diagnosed with pleurisy and a detailed description of hospital life and medical care at the Mansion.

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                                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                            Date:  1862-04-09

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Writing to his sister from the Mansion House Hospital topics include bad weather in Alexandria, Virginia, delayed arrival of letters from home, sewing on chevrons on his coat to help pass the time in his hospital room, and battle news of rebels defeated at Corinth and surrender of island no. 10.

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                                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                              Date:  1862-04-11

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              A very brief letter tells his sister not to write as he will be leaving the Mansion House Hospital for Washington.

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                                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                Date:  1862-05-14

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include waiting for his military discharge papers, his plans for returning to Vermont, and his plan to travel with Sergeant Peabody of the 2nd Vermont.

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                                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                  Date:  1862-05-11

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Writing from Carver Hospital in Washington D.C. topics include his waiting for his military discharge papers and plans for getting home to Vermont.

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