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11th Vermont Infantry (aka First Heavy Artillery, Vermont Volunteers)

Biography
Edwin Alonzo Stebbins

Edwin Alonzo Stebbins interrupted his dental practice to enlist in the Vermont Volunteers in 1862. Serving in the 11th Regiment, Company G, he assisted in the defenses of Washington, D.C. He was appointed to the position of Corporal when he first entered the service, and left as a 1st Lieutenant in 1865. He spent his post-war years in West Townshend, Vermont and primarily in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, where he continued his work as a dentist and raised a family.

Illness dogged Stebbins throughout his service, beginning with chronic diarrhea and jaundice in 1862. He died of Bright's Disease (kidney disease) in 1896. Though coming many years after the war ended, his death may have been precipitated by conditions during the war, according to Stebbins' pension file. In his own declaration, he stated that he suffered from rheumatism, heart disease, kidney disease, and lameness in his foot as a result of his experiences in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864 with his regiment. Today, medical research can tell us much more about the causes of disease than was known at that time. However, it does seem possible that infections he contracted during the war, or medications containing mercury or other dangerous substances which he may have taken for his illnesses, could have contributed to his kidney disease. He is buried at Arms Cemetery, Shelburne Falls.

Stebbins was born in Brookline, Vermont on July 10, 1837 to Rufus Stebbins and Clarrissa Blandin Stebbins, the next to youngest of thirteen brothers and sisters. He attended the Round Schoolhouse in Brookline, as well as Leland Seminary in Townshend and academies in Springfield, Brandon, and Ludlow. As a young man, he taught penmanship.

Stebbins studied dentistry with Dr. E.M. Bissell and began his own practice in South Londonderry, Vermont in the winter of 1860-61. Dentistry at this time was primitive, but Stebbins was known to have a keen interest in the profession by developing new techniques throughout his career.

Stebbins married Jane Nutting of Groton, Massachusetts in 1861. In August 1862, he enlisted in the Vermont Volunteers from Londonderry. At the time of his enlistment at age 25, according to his military record, he was 5 feet, 4 inches tall, with dark hair, gray eyes, and a light complexion. Jane Stebbins moved to Washington, D.C. to help care for him during his illness during the war. They are both mentioned in the April 6, 1863 letter of Nelson Newton Glazier:

Corporal Stebbins has his wife here and has built him a little house so that he has things really nice for army life, seems like living, sit down to a table and eat like folks; Mother you will remember Stebbins the dentist - the very chap -; has been very sickly in camp . . .

The Civil War journal of Nelson N. Wandell, 9th Reg., Co. K, also refers to Stebbins. Jane Stebbins is referred to in a June 19 (no year stated) letter written by Aaron Kellogg of the 11th Reg., Co. G. Stebbins himself kept diaries for the years 1862, 1864, and 1865.

As the war wound down in 1865, Stebbins stayed on when others were discharged and at this time was assigned to the 11th Reg., Co. D. During this time, he also served as Post Quartermaster at Fort Foote and Quartermaster of the Battalion. Throughout his Civil War service, his orderliness, attention to detail, and educational background appear to have resulted in many administrative duties.

Jane Stebbins died in 1877 and Stebbins was remarried in 1878 to Anna Adella Smith, with whom he had two children, George Edwin and Lucy Annette.

Edwin Stebbins' younger brother, J. Webster Stebbins, served in the 9th Reg., Co. K. Their nephew, John Barrett, also served in the 9th Reg., Co. K, and their cousins, Samuel E. Stebbins and Alonzo Holland, were Vermont natives who both fought with the 1st Minnesota, Co. K.

Bibliography:

Family Records
Glazier, Nelson Newton. Letter, 6 April 1863. Available from http://vermontcivilwar.org/units/11/nng4.php, accessed 29 Nov 2002; Internet.
Greenlee, Ralph Stebbins and Robert Lemuel Stebbins. The Stebbins Genealogy. 1904.
Hemenway, Abby Maria, ed. The Local History of Brookline, Vt., in Vermont Historical Gazetteer: Local History of All of the Towns in the State, Civil, Educational, Biographical, Religious, and Military, Vol. 5. Chicago: Press of Jameson & Morse. 1886.
Kellogg, Aaron. Letter, 19 June (no year stated); Available from http://vermontcivilwar.org/units/11/kellogg-ltr.php; accessed 29 Nov 2002; Internet.
Stebbins, Edwin A., 11th Reg., Co. G, compiled service record, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Stebbins, Edwin A. Stebbins, 11th Reg., Co. G, pension record, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Wandell, Nelson N. "Civil War Record of Co. K 9th Vt. Vols. June 4, 1862-June 23, 1865." 1999. Brooks Memorial Library. 26 Nov. 2002. Available from http://www.state.vt.us/libraries/b733/brookslibrary/journal.htm; accessed 26 Nov. 2002; Internet.


See also, a post-war letter by Edwin Stebbins.

Contributed by Bridget Bacon, great-granddaughter of Edwin A. Stebbins.

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