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13th Vermont Infantry


Ruth Smith found the following letter in 1954 in a plain box in the attic of a boarding house in Montgomery that was being renovated to make a parsonage and chapel for the Church of the Nazarene. Although she could not read it very well, she realized it was probably important, and kept it. In early 2001, she gave the letter to her son Phil, who shared it with a friend, Daryl Smith (no relation) of Spokane Washington. Daryl deciphered the letter and has permission of the family to share it. A search is on for descendants!

Thursday  May 28th 1863..

Camp Carusi  VA..

Friend Fanny your kind and welcom

letter is at hand I am well

& hope this may reach you the

same our boys are all well

you rote me more news in

your letter than I have recd

since I came out here from

any one & them are the kind

I like or any solger old Stone

wal Jackson is ded I think

& I am glad of it Captain

Moseby has had his arm shot

most off I have seen his sword

it is very warm here now

& very sickly what do they

say about the draft or dont

they say any thing about it

I was in hopes they would get

along with out any more men

[p. 2]

we are doing picket duty

here now & it is very hard

henry Shina is playing on his

violin I shal hardly know

Montgomery if their is such

a change I think you will

hav to wate a long time before

Richmond will be taken

well I shal be glad when

my time is out & some of them

Coper heds take my place

& that time will soon come

wont it I am glad they are

going to fix the green up

I hope I shal come back & help

them do it whare is Albert

Nuling I rote to him some

time ago oh dear I cant think

of much news to right only

hard times & not much fun

I must close good by

right soon pleas excuse

all mistakes

     yours respectfuly

              Wm Dwyer

William B. Dwyer volunteered from the town of Berkshire at the age of 23 and joined the Bakersfield company and was present at the organization of the company September 11 1862. If memory has not failed me he was a younger brother of Sergt. John H. Dwyer. He was mustered into the United States army October 10 1862 and went with the regiment to Washington; crossed long bridge into Virginia, October 30, and took part with his regiment in all its marches, camps, picket lines and battles until mustered out July 21, 1863. Was an obedient faithful, brave and loyal and valuable soldier. He won the respect of his officers and comrades and returned to his home with the honors of Gettysburg inscribed on his banner." (Source: Ralph Orson Sturtevant, "Pictorial History: Thirteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers: War of 1861-1865," 642)

According to his service and pension records, William, age 23, was 5' 7 3/4", had a fair complexion, black hair and brown eyes. He was a blacksmith both before and after the service. Sometime prior to October 1890, he moved to Bitely, Michigan, and in December, to the Soldiers Home in Grand Rapids. He initially applied for a pension, citing rheumatism and general debility, in October, 1890, but died 7/5/1891 before completing the application process. There is no evidence he was married. (Source: Pension and Service Record, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC)

Henry Shiner was born in Montgomery, Vt., in 1841, and was by occupation a farm hand and common laborer. Volunteered in September and joined Company G of the 13th Regiment Vt. Vols. He like most of French descent, made good soldiers. He was good-natured, well disposed and reliable. There is no doubt but what there was good reasons for the camp rumor that he was passionately fond of fricassee chicken and of course Henry bought quite often a chicken or two from natives of the neighborhood of our camp. It is said Captain Williams and Lieut. Albert Clarke never investigated from whence the chickens and eggs came that so often appeared on their mess table. They satisfied their epicurean appetites and said not a word. The mere fact that Henry was of French descent removed all suspicion from him, though feathers were often seen in his tent, no dressed poultry ever found beneath his cotton tent he called home. He was a jovial, well-behaved soldier boy, made no trouble but plenty of fun. Camping and marching and outdoor life was his delight and declared he would like to see one good, big fight before he went home to Montgomery. He was in the line of march for seven long days and in the hottest battle of the war and secured his share of glory at Gettysburg. He was gratified and on return never tired of relating the gallant conduct of Company G boys in capturing cannon and General Pickett's brave soldiers. From best information Comrade Shiner died some years ago. (Source: Sturtevant, 645).

According to his pension and service records, Henry Shina was 5' 5", had a fair complexion, black hair and brown eyes. One document indicated his pre-service occupation was 'fiddler.' He contracted typhoid in November 1862, while the regiment was at Camp Vermont, near Hunting Creek, Va. After serving with the 13th Vermont, he enlisted again, as Henry Shiner 4/3/65, was assigned to the 8th Infantry, Co. F, and was discharged 6/28/65. After the war he was employed as a sash & door & butter tub maker. He was married to Mary Cushman/Cushing (see both ways in multiple documents) on 7/6/1867 in Richford, by the Rev. J. Letourneau. They had no children. Henry died 5/26/1885 of chronic diarrhea and rheumatism. His wife remarried, in Monterey, California, in 1915, at age 65; her 2nd husband, J. A. Wright, was 70; he died 7/8/1925. At some point she was incarcerated in a mental institution, Agnew State Hospital, Agnew, California, at which time she lost her pension, and was there on 5/16/1933 when she died. (Source: Pension and Service Records, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC; Hamilton Child's Gazetteer and Business Directory for Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Vermont (1883))