Historical Society gets new Civil War letters

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(Host) The Vermont Historical Society says a new set of Civil War letters has been added to its collections.

The letters were written by James Wilson, a Vermont soldier from East Warren. In all, he sent 53 of them to his mother, his sister, and a friend.

Historical Society librarian Paul Carnahan says the letters are particularly poignant because Wilson’s fiancé died a few months after he did.

(Carnahan) "This one is interesting because it comes from a community that’s very small, East Warren, has a very compelling story of a fiancé who dies of a broken heart after the death of her intended. So it’s a well-written, interesting collection.”

(Host) The letters describe daily life with Company B of the 13th Vermont regiment in 1862 and 1863.

That’s the regiment that gained fame from its service at the Battle of Gettsyburg. Wilson died during that battle. His body was returned to Vermont and he was buried in East Warren.

Historians say the Wilson letters add to the understanding of the Vermont troops’ service. The letters also shed light on life in a small village like East Warren in the middle of the 19th century.

Carnahan says the story of Wilson and his fiancé have been told in histories of the Civil War. But this is the first time that some of his correspondence has been collected.

The Historical Society purchased the letters from a man from out-of-state who bought them from a yard sale in Vermont several years ago.

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