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Joseph Spafford Correspondence

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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:  [1861-10-?]

Resource type:   correspondence

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

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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:   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:  1862-02-26

        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:  1862-04-29

          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:  1862-05-07

            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:  1862-08-24

              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 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 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 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:  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 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:  [1861-09-16]

                                    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:  1861-09-20

                                      Resource type:   correspondence

                                      Spafford writes of possible leave from Brattleboro on September 21, 1861, of giving George all his things except his overcoat that he will keep with him, of his desire to see his sister.

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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:  1861-10-8

                                          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:  1861-09-2?

                                            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:  1861-10-30

                                                Resource type:   correspondence

                                                Writes of 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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