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Collection Summary
Administrative Information
Access:
Publication Rights:
Biography
Scope and Content Note
Container List
Letters from Dr. Rutherford, 1862-1865
Letters from Lucien B. Chase
Hannah Chase Rutherford Correspondence

Dr. Joseph Rutherford Papers

Collection Summary

Repository
University of Vermont Libraries Special Collections Burlington, Vermont 05405-3596
Creator
Rutherford, Joseph Chase, 1818-1902
Title
Dr. Joseph Rutherford Papers
Dates [inclusive]
1839-1865
Quantity
2 boxes
Shelf location
Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library.
Language
English
Abstract
The Dr. Joseph Rutherford Collection contains letters written by Dr. Rutherford during the Civil War (1862-1865). The collection also contains a vast amount of letters written to Hannah Chase Rutherford, the doctor's wife.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item] Dr. Joseph Rutherford Papers, Special Collections, University of Vermont Library.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections © 2001 

Access:

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights:

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

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Biography

Joseph Chase Rutherford, oldest son of Alexander and Sally Rutherford, was born at Schenectady, New York, October 1, 1818. His parents came to Vermont in 1826. In 1842 he began his study of medicine with Dr. Newell, then of Lyndon and later of St. Johnsbury, Vt. He went to Derby, Vt. In 1843, and in the following year, he resumed the study of medicine in the office of Dr. Moses F. Colby, Stanstead, P.Q., and graduated from Woodstock, Vt., in 1849. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, he was commissioned by Governor Fairbanks, Surgeon, and examined recruits. He held this position until commissioned Assistant Surgeon of the Tenth Vermont Volunteers, in August 1862. Rutherford was mustered into the Union Services on September 1, 1862, and was mustered out of the Union Service in July of 1865. In the course of action his right arm was severely injured. This injury left his right arm partially maimed for life.

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Scope and Content Note

The Dr. Joseph Rutherford Collection contains letters written by Dr. Rutherford during the Civil War (1862-1865). These letters were written to his wife and family. Dr. Joseph C. Rutherford wrote faithfully to his wife Hannah from the time of his appointment as assistant surgeon of the Tenth Vermont Infantry in August 1862 to his mustering out as surgeon of the Seventeenth Vermont Infantry in July 1865. He infromed her of his medical duties, his relations with the soldiers and officers, and news about soldiers from the Newport, Verrmont area. Rutherford's letters convey a strong sense of pride in his work, but increasing frustration over his failure to win promotion, particularly after the severe battles of 1864. He finally received a commission as surgeon of the Seventeenth Vermont in March 1865. Rutherford described the battle of Orange Grove (November 27, 1863) and Sheridan's Shenandoah campaign, but only one letter (May 17, 1864) survives from the nearly continuous fighting of May and June, 1864. Many of the letters contain advice to Mrs. Rutherford on financial matters and the treatment of their children's illnesses. Rutherford also expressed strong opinions about copperheads, traitors, and Southerners. The collection includes three letters from Edwardl Belville (d. 1864) of Derby, Vermont, a private in the Eighth Vermont Infantry. One of these (July 16, 1863) gives an account of the assault on Port Hudson, in which Belville was wounded.

The collection also contains a vast amount of letters written to Hannah Chase Rutherford, the doctor's wife. Several of the letters were written by her brother Lucien B. Chase, a lawyer in Tennessee. He wrote of his practice and the difference between life in Vermont and Tennessee. There are a few letters in the collection which were written by Mrs. Rutherford to her husband. She discussed what it was like to raise children and keep her home in order while her husband was serving in the Union Army. The remaining letters were from relatives and dealt with family events, health, and farm life.

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