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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:  1861-09-20

Resource type:   correspondence

Writes of possible departure soon, of being told men to be mustered into service soon, of confrontation between the Colonel and men to be enlisted, of Guard House being full of men "who had run the Guard".

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    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

    Date:  1861-09-15

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Spafford writes from Camp Holbrook in Brattleboro, Vt 4th Vt Vol. M. Atherton Guards to his sister in Upper Falls, Vt. Topics include marching orders for Washington, D.C. on September 16, 1861, of his stolen "valice" (dressing case), of having received military supplies of blankets and forthcoming uniforms and arms.

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      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

      Date:  1861-09-15

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Spafford writes to his sister about possibly coming to see him at Camp Holbrook in Brattleboro, of Captain A. writing to his wife to have her join him at camp, having received guns and about possible delay in departure.

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        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

        Date:  1861-09-2?

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Spafford writes of his opinions of some of the men, possibly getting a photograph taken of him to send home, the photographer being very busy taking many photographs for $1.00 each, sending money home.

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          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

          Date:  1861-10-23

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Writes of muddy conditions at Camp Griffin, Virginia, of seeing Gen. Davis from Cavendish, of learning George is to be married, of being still in good health, of having gone out scouting but seeing no Rebels, asks about Thanksgiving in Vermont, meals of wheat bread and coffee, getting butter from sutler to enhance his meal.

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            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

            Date:  [1861]-11-22

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Topics include the Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac at Ball's Cross Roads, "Old Abe" to see 75,000 troops, scouting excursion, marching, picket guard, mentions Thanksgiving in Vermont.

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              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

              Date:  1861-11-17

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Topics include an expected package from home, lack of military pay, death of three men in the company from the fever, of a father retrieving his son's body..

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                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                Date:  1862-04-14

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Topics include not yet being moved from the Mansion House Hospital to one in Washington, his health being with fever and ague, of disposing of his letters from home by burning them and thus needing Homer White’s address again.

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                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                  Date:  1862-04-16

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  A brief writing from Mansion House Hospital include possibility of getting a furlough and an incident at Yorktown with one soldier from the 4th Vermont being wounded slightly and a rebel soldier being "keeled" over.

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                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                    Date:  1862-05-09

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Writing from Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C. topics include waiting for his military discharge papers and sightseeing in Washington.

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                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                      Date:  1862-10-11

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Writing to his sister, Mary Jane, from Brattleboro, Vermont topics include a request for a knitted night cap and a vest; also reference to Veazey as being colonel and the appointment of George C.

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                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                        Date:  [1862]-10-19

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Writing from Brattleboro, topics include the inspection of the company by Dr. Phelps, the assignment of positions by various men including that of Dr. Parks as surgeon and assistant surgeon, and another request for a cap with a post note on compliments received on his vest.

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                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                          Date:  1862-01-06

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Written to his sister from his camp in Virginia, topics include inquiring after news from home, a possible visit by his father, cold weather, boxes of bedding sent by the towns of Weathersfield and Windham, and sending hats home so folks can see them.

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                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                            Date:  1862-01-15

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Written to his sister from his camp in Virginia, topics include description of a large foraging expedition, getting mumps, and rumors about Captain Henry B. Atherton.

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                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                              Date:  1862-01-21

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Spafford writes from Camp Griffin, Virginia on topics including the difficulty in getting a furlough, mud and rain, arrival of a New York regiment and their drunkeness because of the mud, a woman living in camp that came with the New York regiment, camp life, and asking for news from home.

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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:  [1862]-10-24

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Writing from Brattleboro topics include George deciding to joint the regiment, Joseph Spafford receiving his payment, and the mustering of the regiment.

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                                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                            Date:  1862-10-26

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Writing en route, topics include a description of the journey to Washington on the “Elm City” train, his deep desire for letters from home and an undercurrent of his willingness to accept how things are.

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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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