Vermont 150 and 175 years ago – mid-August

We continue highlighting Vermont newspapers now available on Chronicling America this week with some highlights from mid-August 1861 and 1836. You can find full, free access to these newspapers here.

The Burlington Free Press published letters from Vermonters on the front lines serving in the 1st Vermont Brigade for the duration of the Civil War,  “which saw action in nearly every major engagement in the Eastern Theater from the First Battle of Bull Run to Appomattox Court House.”(1) Mid-August finds our soldiers encamped, on guard, and awaiting their next engagement in the wake of the Battle of Bull Run.

The August 16th edition contains two letters from Vermonters in the 2nd and 3rd Regiments. In the first, a soldier known as “M.P.” describes the circumstances of the 3rd Regiment, encamped south of Washington. He describes defenses against confederate forces just a few miles away at Falls Church and Vienna, and the guarding of the reservoir “from which Washington draws its principal supply of water.” W.P. goes on to state “Could the rebels gain this point, Washington would easily fall into their hands. They are aware of this, and may, in their present state of assurance, make the attack; to succeed would be another thing.”

The second letter from “W.” in the 2nd Vermont Regiment, clarifies the actions of Lieutenants Sharpley and Weed at Bull Run. It seems the newspaper accounts were inaccurate:

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Both letters in their entirety can be read on the page available here:

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023127/1861-08-16/ed-1/seq-1/

The August 16, 1836 edition of the Rutland Herald contained details of the completion of the Utica to Schenectady railroad, where the 160 mile trip was completed in a remarkable 7 hours and six minutes:

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The page and entire issue of the Rutland Herald can be seen here.

These newspaper pages and many others are available on Chronicling America. See our Vermont newspapers here: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/newspapers/?state=Vermont .

Tom Mcmurdo

1: See article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermont_in_the_Civil_War .

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