Category Archives: 6th Vermont Infantry

1862: Manly N. Hoyt to “Kind Friends”

The following letter was written by Pvt. Manly N. Hoyt (1831-1862) of Co. G, 6th Vermont Infantry. Manley was born in Bolton, Vermont. He enlisted in October 1861 and died of chronic diarrhea on 18 July 1862.

The 6th Regiment, recruited from the state at large, was mustered into the U. S. service for three years at Montpelier, Oct. 15, 1861, and immediately ordered to Washington, where it arrived on the 22nd. It proceeded at once to Camp Griffin, where it was attached to the Vermont Brigade. The command remained at this post during the winter and broke camp on March 10, 1862, for the Peninsula Campaign. On April 6, 1862, at Warwick creek, Va., the regiment was first in action, fortunately without loss. The brigade was first a part of the 4th and later of the 6th Corps, with which it was generally known. In the battle of Golding’s farm the 6th won complimentary mention from Gen. Hancock. The loss at Savage Station was severe.


Patriotic Stationery used by Manly Hoyt

Camp Griffin
Fairfax county, Virginia
February 13, 1862

Kind friends,

I embrace this opportunity to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well and wish those few lines will find you all the same.

9 February, the rebels come in sight of our pickets. Our cavalry give chase [and ] captured 15 of them.

The 12th, 26 negro slaves come into camp. It would have done you good to seen those animal kept people free [?] We have not been out on any scout lately.

It is warm here today as June. Our marching tents come today. They are made small. Just large enough for two. It divides into [two halves] and each man carries his part of the tent. The gons gos [?] for the straining sticks so we can take out tents and march and stop under cover. If it rains, we shall be under cover.

The uproar last night was the news came in that of several victories and that we shall advance on the enemy.

February 14. It rains here now though it is quite warm. We shot at a mark 50 rods. The man that hit the bullseye is excused from duty two weeks. Captain [William Henry Harrison] Hall has a furlough. He starts today or tomorrow.

I am just informed that 6 batteries come into camp last night (36 pieces). Capt. has started. He come to every tent and shake hands with everyone of us and bid us all goodbye for a few days. We was very sorry to part with him but I hope he will return before we are called into action. Some of our soldiers even shed tears. You may think this foolish but if you go into battle, you would like to know who led you—one that you can put full trust in lest they might be led right in front of a battery where the whole company would be cut to pieces in a minute.

Tell Eddy that I was very glad to get a letter from him. Hope he will be a good boy. Those pictures I sent home in my last cost me 10 cents only. The Presidents I send to Eddy. They are all through daguerreotype. Tell him to see if he can keep them nice till I return from the war.

The picture of the Presidents may have been one like this CDV that sold recently on Fleischer’s Auctions for $850

Those rings are some I whittled out when I han’t nothing to do. So I thought I would send them to you. It has stopped raining. Write often. Don’t be discouraged. write how times is and all the news you can.

Yours truly, — Manly M. Hoyt

1863: William Henry Holmes to Lucinda C. (Pope) Holmes

William Henry Holmes, 6th Vermont Infantry
(Ed Italo Collection)

This letter was written by William Henry Holmes (1844-1912), the son of Lewis Holmes (1817-1901) and Lucinda Clark Pope (1814-1897) of Caledonia county, Vermont.

William enlisted in August 1862 and was mustered into Co. E, 6th Vermont Infantry where he served until 2 January 1864. Ten years after the war ended, William married Frances Melanie Goddard and the couple made their home in DuPage county, Illinois, where William made his living as a clergyman.

After the Battle of Fredericksburg, the 6th Vermont went into winter quarters at White Oak Church, where it remained until camp was broken for the Chancellorsville movement in the spring of 1863. In the Chancellorsville campaign of 1863, the regiment did gallant service at Marye’s Heights, and especially at Bank’s Ford, where, in a gallant charge, it drove back the enemy and captured 250 prisoners—a charge that William mentions in the following letter. Curiously, from William’s fresh perspective, he characterized the Battle of Chancellorsville as “the greatest victory that the Army of the Potomac ever won” and though the passage of time has characterized the battle as a defeat, it may have indeed been one of the best fought battles by the Army of the Potomac up until that date.


Addressed to Mrs. Lewis Holmes, Sheffield, Vermont

Camp near White Oak Church, Virginia
Wednesday, May 27th 1863

Dear Mother,

I received yours of the 17th in good time and with it the stamps and envelopes which I was very much in need of. My box has not come yet. What the reason is, I do not know. Other boys are getting boxes every now and then of maple sugars sent since mine was.

We have to drill two hours per day now—one in the morning & one at night. We drill the skirmish & bayonet drill. There is now present for duty in this company 16 privates, two sergeants, 5 corporals—one of which is corporal of pioneers, and another is a tailor. So you see that we have not got a very heavy company just now.

Oh, our captain Thomas Clark is in North Carolina in the Signal Corps so the command comes on Lieut. [William Joseph] Sperry—a fine little fellow who looks as though he was about 17 years old.

Julia wrote that Mrs. Lougee thought that George [Lougee] was a nine-month’s man. George says that she knows that he is in for three years and that his folks would not try to make her think that [he] was a nine-month’s man.

I see that you think we got whipped over there [at Chancellorsville]. Not so. [It] is the greatest victory that the Army of the Potomac ever won and as to all of the troops not being engaged, it is not so. They were all in & seen hard fighting but the 1st Corps that passed us Saturday to help Hooker but was too late. If they had crossed here with the 6th Corps, we should not be this side of the river & don’t you see that by engaging them here and drawing their force from the south that they have gained a victory there & in my opinion the Rebs never was so hard up as today.

But don’t think the Rebs starved yet for they have enough to eat and as good as we get. I should like to [hear] a man say that he wished the Capitol burned to the ground. Why do not the folks at the North take care of such traitors? Tell Frank to write all about the bees.

I did not mean that I came any nearer to being taken prisoner than any of the rest. It was the Vermont Brigade that saved the Corps. If the Rebs had been successful in that charge, they [would] have gone to the river and taken the whole of us.

Father spoke of my clothes. I have my 2nd pair of pants, have worn out one blouse. The rest of my clothes are good. All the fault there ever was in my boots was that they was too narrow for marching. If I was on a summer campaign, I should throw them away and wear shoes. We are all well. (Tophan is well). Goodbye, — Wm. H. Holmes