2nd Vermont InfantryDiaries
Elbridge W. Prior
Elbridge William Prior was born around 1840 in the village of Tyson Furnace, Plymouth, Vermont, the son of Franklin and Celia (Wheelock) Prior.
He enlisted 11 May 1861, and mustered in as a private in Company I, 2nd Vermont Volunteer Infantry. He was promoted to corporal 8 January 1863. He was wounded during the battle of Marye's Heights on 3 May 1863. He appears to have made two entries in his diary that day (punctuation added for ease of reading):
"I am Sick. I cant Eat anything. the Batl is opened and we are Formed Ready for Action. Our Regt detailed to charge the Heights. it will be a hard Job for us I fear."
"We have done it but not without loss. we were the first Regt on the Heights, we captured Forts and Guns & Prisoners. I am Wounded in the thigh. Philip [Philip W. Crosby, of Plymouth] is Killed. Such Bravery I never saw before."
Prior mustered out 29 June 1864, and returned to Vermont. He recorded his wartime experiences in a series of diaries, three of which are extant today. While some of the pages suffer from bleed-through, there is a significant amount of readable material.
Prior married, prior to 1867, Helen J. Headle (4/24/1848-4/13/1917), daughter of Charles and Charlotte Headle, of Mount Holly.
In 1870, he was a hotel keeper in Jamaica. By 1880, he was living in Ludlow, employed as a painter. He was 40. His wife Ellen J. was 32. Their children included: Cora A., age 13, Frances H., 11, George E., 9, Charles A., 1. Elbridge's widowed father, Franklin, age 78, was boarding with them as well; he was suffering from dyspepsia.
He applied for an invalid pension on 12 May 1880. On 22 June 1882, based on his gun shot wounds in his right hip and left little toe, he was awarded a pension of $4.00.
Elbridge and Helen (Headle) Prior; in undated photographs
By 1890, he was living in Sherburne, where he had held the offices of justice of the peace, selectman and constable. He moved to Woodstock in 1893, kept himself occupied as a furniture dealer, and continued his civic service as justice of the peace and village trustee. He also had been a trustee of the Universalist society.
Prior died in Woodstock of Bright's disease on 17 May 1905, aged 65. Two weeks later his widow applied applied for his pension benefits.
- "Death of Elbridge W. Prior," St. Albans Daily Messenger, 18 May 1905;
- United States Federal Censuses for 1850, 1870, 1880, 1890 and 1900;
- United States Congress, Senate. "List of pensioners on the roll January 1, 1883; giving the name of each pensioner, the cause for which pensioned, the post office address, the rate of pension per month, and the date of original allowance, as called for by Senate resolution of December 8, 1882." Serial Set Vol. No. 2078, Session vol. No. 5, 47th Congress, 2nd Session, S.Exec.Doc. 84 pt. 1, p. 277.
- Vermont, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office. Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers and lists of Vermonters who served in the Army and Navy of the United States During The War of the Rebellion, 1861-66. Montpelier, Vt: Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892.
- Photographs and diaries courtesy of Nathan Adams, Chester, Vermont, Elbridge's great-grandson