The Soldiers' Home, Bennington
Letter from Robert J. Coffey to John Healy Buxton, Buxton P.O., Prince George's County, Maryland. Soldiers' Home, in Vermont Capt. R. J. Coffey, Superintendent Bennington, Sept 17th 1888 Dear Comrade Your letter to Comrade Hill* directed to Burlington was sent to Bennington and the Home. I thought the first thing to do was to open it as I have done in several cases and thereby found out what to do. Well in your case I have the pleasure of hearing where you are and that you are still alive. I have of your Regt** here Wm Butler Co.F. Chas.Barton do - Wm Carl Co.G. Wm Depar Co.B. Thos OBrien Co.M. and about an equal number of the old Regt [1st Vt Inf]and 39 in all. We are building so we can receive 75 by Thanksgiving I hope. We have a very nice property of 200 acres within the village of Bennington that was formerly the summer home of a wealthy manufacturer which was given to the state a little more than a year ago, but it would take to long to write all about it. there will be some reports out soon and I will send you one. I have three (3) of the 1st Vt. 3 mos here, 2 of Woodstock and 1 of Rutland. Genl Wells is the President of the Home. Maj Grout & Lt Ide Sergt Gibbs are Trustees so you see the Cavelry is well represented with us. Well I have asked the Boys if they know anything about Comrade Hill but do not find out any thing to do you any good. I should be pleased to hear from you and will be glad to send you anything of interest in regard to the Home and old associates. I enclose the letter sent to Comrade Hill and with best wishes Sincere Yours Fraternally R. J. Coffey Supt * Possibly Daniel J. Hill, Cpl, 1st Vt Cav, Co C. ** 1st Vermont Cavalry Regiment.
Letter from Robert J. Coffey to John Healy Buxton, Buxton P.O., Prince George's County, Maryland. Soldiers' Home, in Vermont Bennington, Sept 30th 1888 Dear Comrade Yours of the 19th is at hand and in reply, in 1859 I lived with the Materman[?] family across the branch from your home.* In 1860 I drove the stage from Montpelier & Hyde Park. In April [May] 1861, yourself, F. R. Gove now in Rutland, Danl Marble now at Burlington, "Tig" Goodwin dead, Oscar N. Webster, dead & myself from Montpelier went out in "Co F". [In Sept. 1861] you in Co C [1st Cav] & I in Co K [4th Inf]. In Oct 63 I was wounded near Fairfax C. H. & disabled for further service by a wound just below left knee. It only got through discharging slivers of bone a few years ago, and is now doing pretty good service. Am receiving $8 per month pension but it is gradually failing and I think it will make me limp again before many years. Since the War, I have been 2 years in the P.O. at Montpelier, 4 years with C H Cross & Son and the ballance of the time in the Hotel until the Appointment 2 years ago. My mother & Sister Mrs. H. S. Smith now live at Montpelier. I go there as often as it comes handy as it costs me nothing in Vt. for R. R. It has been my Masonic home since 1866 and probably will allways be. I have only become a M.M.** as I have been in the G.A.R for 21 years. Organized 20 of the Posts in Vt. as Chief M.O. Have been Jun Vice Aid on Nat Staff - & Delegate in 1883 & 88. Did not go this year on account of the new building going up at the time. I am at present Aid de Camp on the Staff of Brig Genl Greenleaf but shall quit the business when he goes out, all though it is a very pleasant place in comparison to the command of a Militia Co*** - Well something else our present Adj't Genl is Genl. T.S.Peck of Burlington You are entitled to $7 per month while you served with the 1st Vt Cav and if you have not rec'd it is to your credit with the State Treasurer Hon. Wm. Dubois, Montpelier, Vt. [during?] the next two months, or during the Legislature session there West Randolph I have the names of both F 1st Vt & C 1st Vt Cav. in the Adj't Gen'l Reports. They are all disposed off or you could procure one. I will have my Clerk write them off though so as to send them to you soon. We are having a very cold storm. Hard frost last night & the hills white with snow this morning. In fact, a regular winter snow storm about 2 P.M to day. It has cleared off tonight & I think will be better weather. I guess we caught it from your way, as I see it was so cold in Washington DC. They called the Base Ball game off etc Well, write when you feel like it. I am pretty busy but will answer some time Yours Fraternally R. J. Coffey * The Buxton home was across the road from their foundry, which was on the Winooski River. ** "M. M." probably Master Mason, a third degree Mason. *** "command of a Militia Co." may account for Coffey's title of Capt. (stamped below heading of 7 Sep 1888 letter). Note: Coffey used little punctuation; some periods and capitalization added for clarity.
Medal of Honor Citation
1st Infantry Regiment
4th Infantry Regiment
Members of a Montpelier Fire Department in the Civil War
Photograph from Ed Italo's First Brigade Collection
Bennington Soldiers' Home - 1905
Bennington Soldiers' Home - 1921
Contributed by the late Colby B. Rucker. Used with permission.