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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:   John Spafford to Joseph Spafford, Joseph Spafford to John Spafford

Creator:  Spafford, John, b. 1810; Spafford; Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

Date:  [1861-11-?]

Resource type:   correspondence

Letter from John Spafford to his son Joseph. Both serving in the military. John inquires about what needs Joseph might have, of the importance of keeping body and clothes clean and the movement of the regiment from Washington to Camp Griffin. Joseph answers his father's questions on the same letter to be returned to John.

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    Title:   John Spafford to Joseph Spafford, Joseph Spafford to John Spafford

    Creator:  Spafford, John, b. 1810; Spafford; Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

    Date:  [1861-10-?]

    Resource type:   correspondence

    Topics include inquiries about writing materials, tobacco, dress coats, and stockings.

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      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

      Date:  1863-01-18

      Resource type:   correspondence

      Writes of being in the military for 9 months and not knowing what the future will bring, of moving from Camp Vermont to Fairfax Court House, of having done picket duties at Bull Run, of doing drills, writes of the personality of a man named Az as well as mentioning other men he is with, of the promotion of George Clark to 2nd Lieutenant in Company D.

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        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

        Date:  1863-06-11

        Resource type:   correspondence

        Topics include stating having moved from Bristoe Station to Union Mills, Virginia, quoting an article from the Washington Chronicle about the battle of Port Hudson, reference to a Captain Craigue being wounded, setting up camp, and the plan to be paid the next day.

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          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

          Date:  1863-07-17

          Resource type:   correspondence

          Brief letter to friend Homer White (of New York City) informing him of Spafford's soon discharge from the army, heading to New York, the heavy losses at Gettysburg with those killed & wounded, opinions of newspaper editors.

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            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

            Date:  1862-05-07

            Resource type:   correspondence

            Still writing from Carver Hospital in Washington D.C. topics include hoping to get his papers to go home to surprise his family, plans to meet Homer White in New York City and hopes that his friend Homer will come to Vermont with him.

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              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

              Date:  1862-02-07

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Spafford writes to his friend Homer on topics including Typhoid Fever in the Regiment, friendship, camp life, Hancock’s Brigade [Winfield Scott Hancock], and answering his friend’s questions about joining the Regiment and fear of dying.

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                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                Date:  1862-04-29

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Now in Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C. topics include military discharge, plans to meet Homer White in New York City and the wounding of Captain Atherton.

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                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                  Date:  1862-02-26

                  Resource type:   correspondence

                  Topics include receiving marching orders for possible move out on Feb 27th but not knowing in what direction or where the soldiers are headed, whether the Army of the Potomac will move during heavy rain, a sick soldier's brother is providing medical care, and a visitor from Cavendish, Vt.

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                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                    Date:  1862-08-24

                    Resource type:   correspondence

                    Writing from Windham, Vt to his friend Homer White topics include Joseph Spafford deciding to enlist and reference to others who have decided to enlist.

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                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Homer White

                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                      Date:  1862-09-14

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Writing from Greenbush topics include a description of the regiments being formed and the position assignments of Joseph Spafford’s friends.

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                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Marianne Spafford

                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                        Date:  1863-04-26

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Very brief letter about military pay in "scripts" being sent home to sister Mary Jane.

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                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Marianne Spafford

                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                          Date:  1863-04-27

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include sending $350 home after being paid $426, a trip into Washington to purchase needed clothing, release date July 23rd, the distribution of the regiment, military pay in "scripts" and the pleasant weather.

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                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Marianne Spafford

                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                            Date:  1862-03-29

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Writing to his mother from the Mansion House Hospital topics include being left behind by the Regiment due to his illness, impossibility of getting a furlough, number of men from the 4th Vermont in the hospital, Ellsworth’s house, and possibility of being sent to another hospital.

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                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Marianne Spafford

                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                              Date:  1862-11-24

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Writing from Camp Vermont, topics include a copy of Joseph Spafford’s accounts of camp life from November 10th until November 24th written on stationery with a beautiful color illustration of Richmond, Virginia. Mentions the orphan boys wanting to go along with the soldiers have run away.

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                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                Date:  1863-01-04

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                From Centreville, Va., a brief letter to sister Mary Jane requesting copies of the Boston Daily Journal with information about the battles of Bull Run (August 1862) and Chantilly (September 1862), mention of skirmish of cavalry pickets with the rebels, of how desolate the area is with empty, burned buildings and Joseph’s good health.

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                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                  Date:  1863-01-08

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Letter head with color illustration of a camp scene written in the field. Topics include several diary entries detailing Joseph’s experiences from November 25th, 1862 to January 8th, 1863 that include camp life, soldiers marching music, viewing the Chantilly battlefield, desecration of the dead, discovery of coffin of Confederate officer in barn of area family, firing at Rebels with death of a horse resulting, burned and empty buildings in the area, activities of local people including assisting a southern woman regain her father who had been taken prisoner.

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                                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                    Date:  1863-01-18

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Considers the possibility of bringing home a Southern woman after the war, asks how family thinks about that, indifferent about having family send a box of goods as he is living well, if he needs money he may borrow from another man, the improvement in George’s health, the need for a new drum major, and teases his sister Sophia about having a Southern woman as a sister-in-law.

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                                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                      Date:  1863-01-19

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Topics include the 16th Vermont Regiment and whole Brigade moving to Occoquan and Wolf Run, the measles going around the regiment, looking forward to marching as the weather is good, states many soldiers have deserted, the government not paying the soldiers, officers having to buy their own outfits, writes again about whether or not to have a box of goods sent to him.

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                                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                        Date:  1863-02-21

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include how often to write, of not getting a letter Mary Jane says she wrote, the snowy and rainy weather, Williams and the Captains poor health, a trip to Washington, Joseph’s clothing, the resignation of the 2nd Lieutenant of Company F, and Joseph’s good health.

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  1863-03-13

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Time doing battalion drills, the capture of Stoughts, Rebels capturing Brig. Gen without a gunshot, digging pits, inquiries about a letter that perhaps was inappropriate with questions about who wrote it & how disgruntled privates can give misconceptions, and a few officers in Company E becoming intoxicated.

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                                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                            Date:  1863-03-23

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Brief letter about moving to Union Mills, where 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th regiments are, the resignation of the Lieutenant, Kit Haskins of 1st Lieut Co I has left camp, Adin Whitmore resigned.

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                                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                              Date:  1863-03-29

                                              Resource type:   correspondence

                                              Topics include a description of the good tent living conditions, the picket line from Union Mills to Blackburns Ford along Bull Run, the return of Lieutenant Williams to camp with recovered health and plans for when back home by April 1864.

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                                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                Date:  1863-04-03

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Topics include several promotions in the regiment, a trip to Washington, to the theater to see performances (Werner, Still Waters Run Deep, My Aunt), book of poems to send home, music to send home (I'm sitting on the Stile Mary & The Vacant chair), the cold weather, and the expectation to be paid soon.

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                                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                                  Date:  1863-04-07

                                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                                  Topics include a description of the area beyond the pickets, rethinking the idea of marriage before next April & idea of possibly going to Mexico after the war made in fun, recreational fun by the men in camp, the expectation of being paid soon, the probability of not returning home before July 23rd, concerns about health of Grandmother.

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