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George J. Howard Civil War letters, 1862-1865.
Howard, George J., 1827-1865.
Library Call Number Copy Material Location
Vermont Historical Society Library  Misc 692-694  Manuscript  Vault-Manuscript 

Personal Author : Howard, George J., 1827-1865.
Title : George J. Howard Civil War letters, 1862-1865.
Physical Description : 3 folders.
Summary :

The collection consists of three folders of George J. Howard's letters written to his wife, Gertrude, while serving in Co. G, 5th Vermont Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The first folder contains letters written from September 18, 1862, to February 8, 1864 and provide much detail of the 5th Vermont on its marches, camps, countryside and towns in it's area of operation. Howard's letters were initially extremely patriotic and upbeat, but after the Union defeat at Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, his letters reveal his doubt about the ability of the Union to defeat the Confederacy. He gives good descriptions of the battle of Fredericksburg, Burnside's Mud March, the second battle of Fredericksburg and Banks Ford. Information on the regiment's involvement at Gettysburg and Funkstown are very sketchy. There is one letter in the collection dated October 10, 1863, by Don Alonzo Fassett, Howard's nephew, also in Co. G, 5t Vermont, written to Howard while Fassett was in the hospital at Fort McHenry, Maryland. In the letter Fassett relates an incident of theft by a Confederate POW at the hospital.

The second folder contains letters written from February 14, 1864 to May 31, 1864. The letters start while the 5th Vermont is in winter camp at Brandy Station, Virginia, and give a good description of life in camp. He writes to his wife on May 10, 1864 about being slightly wounded by a bullet that hit him just below his right eye. He indicated it was more bloody than damaging, but he must must have been sparing his wife bad news, because he was sent to the rear to a general hospital where he stayed for several months.

The third folder contains letters written from July 3, 1864 to March 28, 1865. The letters begin with Howard in the hospital, still recovering from a wound he received May 6, 1864. Howard rejoined the 5th Vermont September 16, 1864. He gives an excellent description of the 5th Vermont in the Battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864. Of particular interest is a letter dated March 28, 1865 written on stationary with the lyrics of the song "The Battle of Cedar Creek" printed on it. There are letters dated April 4, and June 7, 1865, written by Private Oren N. Mudge of Co. G, telling Howard's wife the details of Howard's death. There is also a letter from Co. G's first sergeant, William H. Breed, telling Mrs. Howard he was with her husband when he was wounded and that he had taken Howard to a nearby house that was serving as a field hospital where Howard's left leg was amputated. Also contained in the folder is a typescript containing excerpts from the letters, as well as an anecdote telling of how and when Gertrude Howard received word of her husband's death.

Biographical or historical data :

George J. Howard was born on October 24, 1827 in Mount Holly, Vermont, the son of Josiah and Katherine (Cole) Howard. Howard enlisted in Rutland in Co. G, 5th Vermont Volunteer Infantry Regiment August 11, 1862 and was mustered into service September 15, 1862. He was wounded May 6, 1864 in the battle of the Wilderness. He was wounded again April 2, 1865, in the breakthrough at Petersburg and died of his wound the next day.

Corporate Subject : United States. Army. Vermont Infantry Regiment, 5th 1861-1865. Company G.
Subject Term : Soldiers Vermont Correspondence.
Geographic Term : United States History Civil War, 1861-1865.
Vermont History Civil War, 1861-1865.
Mount Holly (Vt.) Archival resources.
Genre/Form : Letters Correspondence
Added Author : Fassett, Don Alonzo.
Breed, William H.
Mudge, Oren N.