Monday, February 7, 2011

More Images of Camp Griffin: 6th Vermont Volunteer Infantry

A couple of weeks ago I decided to look for more period photographs of the Union Army camps around Lewinsville and Langley from October 1861 to March 1862.  I wasn't sure what I would find, since I thought I had located nearly all such photographs available on the Internet.  However, as everyone knows, you never can be sure you have found everything out there!  Below are two photographs that I uncovered of the 6th Vermont at Camp Griffin:

Camp of 6th Vermont Infantry, Camp Griffin (U.S. Military History Institute, via Vermont in the Civil War)

Co. H, 6th Vermont Infantry, Camp Griffin, Virginia (Library of Congress

Neither source gives a date for these photographs.  The first picture is a camp shot, showing a mass of tents laying at the base of a long ridge line.  A small home is off to the far left of the photo.  A flag flies high over the encampment, and a group of soldiers appears to be arranged in formation off to the left.  More soldiers are standing on the right side of the photograph, although it is unclear what they are doing.  The ground is barren and marked by what appear to be patches of snow, or muddy puddles.

The second picture is a posed shot of Company H of the 6th Vermont.  Company H was composed of boys from Washington County, Vermont.  In this photo, a flag waves in the breeze at the center of the semi-circle of soldiers.  The soldiers display an "H" wreath made out of leaves and branches.  The trees behind the company still have leaves, indicating that the photo may have been taken during the early part of the company's stay at Camp Griffin, before the arrival of dead winter.

About the 6th Vermont

The 6th Vermont was recruited from across Vermont.  Mustered into service on October 15, 1861 for three years, the 6th Vermont headed to Washington on October 19.  The regiment arrived on the 22nd, and proceeded to Camp Griffin in Lewinsville two days later, where it joined soldiers of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Vermont, attached to General "Baldy" Smith's division.  All of these Vermont regiments together comprised what became known as the "Vermont Brigade."  The winter in camp was harsh for the 6th Vermont.  Soldiers suffered from a various diseases.  There were 278 cases of typhoid fever, 330 of measles, 90 of diphtheria, and 180 of mumps.  More than 50 died.

The 6th Vermont, attached to the Fourth Corps of the Army of the Potomac, headed to the Virginia Peninsula on March 10, 1862.  The regiment was engaged at the Battle of Dam No. 1 on April 16, 1862.  Assigned to the new Sixth Corps in May 1862, the 6th Vermont fought at the Battles of Golding's Farm (June 28, 1862) and Savage's Station (June 29, 1862). 

After the Peninsula, the regiment engaged at the Battle of South Mountain (September 14, 1862) during the Antietam Campaign, as well as at Chancellorsville in May 1863 in front of Mayre's Heights and at Bank's Ford.  As the armies fought at Gettysburg, the regiment reached the town by forced march, and was put into position late on July 2, 1863.  Fortunately, the 6th Vermont experienced no causalities at Gettysburg.  The regiment took part in all of the major battles of the Overland Campaign in May-June 1864, including at the Bloody Angle on May 12, 1864 during the Battle of Spotsylvania.

The 6th Vermont was sent to Washington in July 1864 to halt Confederate General Jubal Early's advance on the nation's capital.  The regiment was then attached, along with the rest of the Sixth Corps, to General Philip Sheridan's Army of the Shenandoah, where it participated in the pivotal battles of Sheridan's Valley Campaign, including Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864).  In December 1864, the 6th Vermont rejoined the Army of the Potomac at Petersburg, and helped to secure final victory over the Army of Northern Virginia in April 1865.

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