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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:  1862-05-06

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:  1862-05-09

    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:  1862-05-11

      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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        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:  1862-10-11

          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]-10-22

              Resource type:   correspondence

              Still in Brattleboro but anticipating the company moving out, topics include the men who are going home, George declining the assistant surgeon position, and the expectation of being paid.

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                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                Date:  1862-10-22

                Resource type:   correspondence

                Spafford writes about being asked by Col Veazey to have Spafford go to Windham and ask George to accept the position of assistant surgeon.

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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:  1862-10-27

                      Resource type:   correspondence

                      Very brief letter to his sister, Mary Jane, stating arriving in Washington, D.C. and camping on Capitol Hill.

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                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                        Date:  1862-10-29

                        Resource type:   correspondence

                        Stationed in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill topics include a brief description of the items Joseph Spafford has in his possession, the living situation at camp, and the good health of the regiment.

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                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                          Date:  1862-11-01

                          Resource type:   correspondence

                          Topics include setting up camp on Capitol Hill, the uncertainty of when the regiment will march, homeless orphan white boys asking and being allowed to go along with the soldiers, one of the boys going with Spafford and Spafford’s good health.

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                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                            Date:  1862-11-06

                            Resource type:   correspondence

                            Topics include the arrival of George, the movement of the regiment to Camp Vermont near Alexandria, Virginia, having only two dollars in pocket and hoping pay comes soon.

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                              Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                              Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                              Date:  1862-11-09

                              Resource type:   correspondence

                              Writing from Camp Seward near Alexandria, Virginia, topics include a copy of Joseph Spafford’s accounts of camp life from October 24th until November 9th, 1862 with a note that he burns the letters he receives. Writes about tents, gunfire heard from a battle a distance away, on leave to visit Washington, D.C., liking his boy Daniel McAuliffe age 13 and wanting to take him with him to Vermont when the 9 months are up.

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                                Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                Date:  [1862]-11-19

                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                Topics include rumors that the 15th and 16th regiments may move to New York and go with the Texas Expedition, the health of the regiment and the matter of shipping a tub of butter to Spafford.

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                                  Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                  Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                  Date:  1862-12-09

                                  Resource type:   correspondence

                                  Topics include the 13th, 14th, and 15th regiments moving near Bull Run battlefield, Stoughton arriving in camp, his comfortable living quarters, plenty to eat and inquiries about home.

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                                    Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                    Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                    Date:  1862-12-13

                                    Resource type:   correspondence

                                    Writing from Company E. 16th Vt. Picket Reserve, Centerville Virginia, topics include the regiment marching to Fairfax Court House, Virginia, the picket line out on battlefield of Second Battle of Bull Run, battle casualties observed including those of horses and that of a man's head.

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                                      Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                      Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                      Date:  1862-12-18

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Writing from camp near Fairfax Court House, Virginia topics include a description of what picket duty entails, an account of the people Joseph Spafford met in Virginia including two families with very different attitudes towards the Northern soldiers. Writes of dining with one family who also had been given the responsibility of keep a dead Confederate officer in a metal lined coffin in their shed, of observing battle remains at the Bull Run site and of picking up bullets, etc from there, the ill health of Ed Hammond, the decision to remain at Camp Vermont and a brief reference to gunfire heard near Fredericksburg.

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                                        Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                        Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                        Date:  1862-12-23

                                        Resource type:   correspondence

                                        Topics include a hard battle and defeat at Fredericksburg, the death of S. E. Connor from pneumonia, his opinion of how the war is conducted, the illness of two of the officers, of having the Commissary Sergeant among them with the result living conditions are good.

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                                          Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                          Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                          Date:  1862-12-28

                                          Resource type:   correspondence

                                          Writing from Camp New Fairfax topics include the sickness of two officers at camp, giving permission of sell his horse Jo back home, the 15th regiment out on Bull Run battlefield, the resignation of several officers including the Captain of K that has not yet been accepted but expected to be, living conditions better now that Commissary Sergeant is with them.

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                                            Title:   Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

                                            Creator:  Spafford, Joseph, 1837-1866

                                            Date:  1862-12-30

                                            Resource type:   correspondence

                                            Topics include the whole brigade on picket duty on Bull Run, a catholic church having been emptied of its pews so as to used for a hospital, a brief encounter with Rebel soldiers, Spafford's anger with the Rebels being able to infiltrate the Union troops, the captured rebel prisoner stated aim was to take Sutler's supplies, acceptance of officers' resignations and the potential promotion of George Clark to Captain.

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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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