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    Archive of L. Porter Butts, 13th Regiment, Vermont Volunteers, Company E. Fantastic archive comprised of 84 letters written by Union soldier Leonard Porter Butts, of Vermont, to his parents. All letters are sleeved and collected in a blue binder, in chronological order, and date from September 30, 1862, through June 16, 1865.

    Hailing from Stowe, Vermont, L. Porter Butts enlisted on September 27, 1862, where he joined Company E of the 13th Regiment, Vermont Volunteers. The regt. set up camp in Brattleboro, Vermont, and after being mustered into service, was in Washington by October 13.

    December 29, 1862 found the 13th camped in Fairfax, Virginia, where he writes of a skirmish with Rebel forces. In part: "We heard a shriek and yell and then a volley of musketry...In a few moments the Col. came along our lines cheering the boys. He told them not to get excited, to take good aim and make every shot count...the rebels were formed in line of Battle not over 400 yards from us...everything was hushed, not a sound was heard...some of the boys thought they were ready for them but the Col. said boys it's nothing to be longed for but there is no rebels agoing to drive us away from here."

    1863 finds the regiment in camps around Virginia, but that summer, the Vermont boys were called to take part in the historic Battle of Gettysburg. Though the 13th was involved in the monumental fight, Butts was held at the Mount Pleasant Hospital during the battle, due to illness. In a letter from July 14, 1863, back in Brattleboro, he writes of the soldiers returning from Gettysburg, looking very much like they just took part in the Civil War battle involving the highest number of human casualties. In part: "The 13th Regt. came in last night about 1 A.M. The boys look pretty rough and as though they had seen hard service and I guess they have. The wounded, most of them are here, the rest are at Gettysburg yet I believe. None are dangerously wounded. The boys all of us mourn the loss of Henry Smith and also Orson Carr. They were both killed by the same shell. Henry had his head blown off. Carr had his leg nearly blown off so that he bled to death."

    After the brutal Gettysburg engagement, the 13th was mustered out of service. Having spent roughly a year at home, Butts mustered into Company D of the 5th Regt. Vermont Volunteers on August 19, 1864.

    In a letter from February 22, 1865, in Weldon, VA, as the war is winding down, Butts writes of a friendly exchange between Union and Confederate soldiers. In part: "Hen is on picket. I went out where he was yesterday and hen and I and a number of other boys went down over our line and met the Johnie's half way. When we met, we shook hands and we were just as friendly as if we all belonged to the same army...Finally we got five of them to come into our lines with us. They put on our coats and caps so that their pickets would not know them for we were in sight of both lines. They were glad to come in too for they said they were sick of fighting."

    L. Porter Butts mustered out of service for the last time on June 19, 1865. After the war, he resided in North Hyde Park, Vermont. Several original envelopes, and a few transcriptions are included.

    Condition: All letters have smoothed folds, with normal toning and soiling. Some have heavier soiling, slight fading and foxing.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2015
    12th Saturday
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