Collecting is an extremely personal past time, not always governed by practical actions. If you ask ten people why they collect, you'll more than likely get ten different answers in response. These days, it isn't hard to find these ten people, as everyone seems to have started accumulating something. Because of this, collecting has become an extremely competitive and often expensive proposition. With so many people willing to pay almost any price for what they're after, its more difficult than ever to "just stumble upon" your thing. It now takes a lot of time, energy and determination to be the first in line. In order to keep collecting fun, you sometimes have to remind yourself what it was that motivated you to start in the first place.
For me, remembering why I started collecting objects from the The Vermont Brigade has never been hard to do. Because of a special interest in the Civil War that goes back to my childhood, I began to read seriously about the period several years ago. Almost at once, I discovered that the men of "The Old Brigade" had distinguished themselves on every battle field on which they were present, showing a unique character which was recognized then as well as today. If you travel to the page on this web site which is devoted to the The Vermont Brigade, you'll find an article titled "What They Say of The Vermont Brigade," contributed by David Niles. This piece perfectly illustrates the reason why I became interested in this particular brigade. The idea of being able to actually find original photos, letters, diaries and documents touched by the men that had earned such an honorable reputation was more than I could resist. I had never collected anything before in my life before 1990.
With at least one trip to the National Archives in Washington D.C. each year, I've been able to compile a separate file on each soldier that I have some object from. Each file includes a copy of that man's service and pension records, his photo if available,and any other related material that I might have come across. In some respects, I've become the curator of my own small, independent museum dedicated to The The Vermont Brigade. Each new piece that I'm able to acquire fits into the patchwork of their common history, which has been fragmented by time and the movements of their ancestors. Sometimes, I'm moved by a romantic notion that I've been able to reunite family, friends, and comrade who stand side by side once again after many years of separation.
I'm more than happy to make copies of any small part of my collection for anyone who expresses an interest. Also, I'm constantly adding to this collection and would be happy to purchase or trade for any related material. I do occasionally come across items from other Vermont regiments that I keep for trade.
E-mail Ed Italo at: firstname.lastname@example.org