Vermont soldiers key to union victory in Civil War

Howard Coffin at the podium at Shelburne Town Hall
Howard Coffin at Shelburne Town Hall presenting a talk on Vermonters and their important role in the Civil War last week. Courtesy photo

Submitted by the Shelburne Historical Society

Historian Howard Coffin delighted his full-house audience at Shelburne Town Hall on Monday evening as he presented his theory that Vermont’s soldiers were the best fighters on the Union side of the Civil War, and proved his theory with details, diagrams and stories from his years of research.

Coffin, whose family tree includes six veterans of the war that pitted the north against the south for four terrible years in the 1860s, described important encounters, from the opening skirmish to such well-known battles as Gettysburg and the bravery, clever strategy and willingness to obey orders displayed by the volunteers from Vermont.

The price was extremely high. In the aftermath of the Civil War it was calculated that Vermont with a population of 315,098 furnished 34,238 men to the war effort. Of those, 5,224 died and there are no accurate records of those who were crippled and scarred.

The program was sponsored by the Vermont Council on the Humanities and hosted by Shelburne Historical Society.

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