10th Vermont volunteers, 1863
From the collections of the Vermont Historical Society (Misc. 0238)
[Transcription by Christian Savoia and Steven Kung, 2007]
Walter Graham of Arlington, Vt., was mustered into Co. E of the 10th Vermont Regiment in 1862 and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant June 15, 1865. He was taken prisoner July 9, 1864 and pardoned February 22, 1865. He was mustered out June 22, 1865.
The VHS manuscript collection also includes a diary by Graham (MSC-194) and, in the VHS museum collection, items carved by Graham while in prison.
Letter to Walter Graham
Randolph, Vt Feb. 11th 1863
Since reaching home I often find myself looking down the Company street in imagination & I always have you fixed at the head, as in front of the men. In my mind you were a model soldier (the Captain thought so too) and I have been thinking what a field of usefulness was open before you. How much good you could do those men. You may not look at it in the light I do. You feel it hard to come and take a very decided stand among them, in religious matters. You would tell me you had been one with them, many were older than you, and others reasons just as good. I know those things would naturally rise in your mind, and I want to tell you that those are only a few of the hindrances God sometimes places before his servants. I looked upon God with the feeling that there were many noble men there, whose spiritual training had been sadly neglected. I know there is great wickedness in our army, but I did not see the necessity for the men becoming so badly demoralized, as some represent.
It seems to me they need to be encouraged in all their good endeavors, kindly and decidedly told when they do wrong. You are a Christian. I am interested in you as such. I would were I able, strengthen & encourage you in the faith of Christ. You as a Christian & as an Orderly can do much for the men bodily & spiritually. When they come to your tent there will be opportunities when you can by word or example, pointthem to the meek & precious Saviour who careth for the sparrows. I notice you were liked in the Co, which would give you still greater influence. No man, let him be ever so wicked but what in his honest thoughts, would say he had most love and respect for a Christian. It seems to me, there could be little reason to doubt, but what a few praying cheerful men in Co. G, could be the means of saving many souls in that Co. God uses feeble means to bring about great events. Perhaps this is your appointedtime to work for Him. Be diligent in serving & doing His will that you yourself do not fail of the “Life Eternal” and perchance some others may rise up to bless you & claim through your feeble efforts, a right in the Better Land.
I am glad I went to camp for I have a greater interest in our soldiers than ever before. I have thought much of them these last cold days and nights. Vermont is buried in snow now. I wonder if there isn’t some with you. How is your health and that of your brother? My kind regards to him. I did not see so much of him, as I did of you. Perhaps you wonder why I write you - well it’s because I felt interested in you & I have heard it said, “Women’s letters” were better than nothing when one was banished from home and friends.
It’s to be hoped this war will end & Uncle Sam be sending home his Sons - for we do so need them here.
I have sent up any clothing what I could spare, to the contrabands at Port Royal, today. The ladies met at a house & brought a lot of unmentionables that were too ragged and dirty to be worn for the “freedmen and women” such is charity.
My best wishes, for you and those soldiers with you.
Your friend, Mrs. P. D. Blodget
Letters from Walter Graham
Monocacy Junction, Maryland.
July 10th, 1864
I am a prisoner at last. I was captured here yesterday with a good many more of our Brigade. I suppose we will start for Georgia soon. Do not be anxious about me. There is three others from my company. Currie, Reid, Stafford. I am not going to write much, but it may be the last time you will here from me in some time. Do not worry for me. Goodbye.
From your aff, Lou Walter Graham
Danville Prison, Va.
July 31st, 1864
I am yet a prisoner of war, but am well. We get enough to eat and drink, and a good dry prison. I cannot write but a few lines. Write about five or six times direct to
Prison No 1
Do not be anxious about me
From your aff, Son
Danville Prison No 1
Nov 15th, 1864
I was made very happy by receiving two letters from you and one from another a few days since one Aug. 21st and one Sept. 6th.
I am very well, and doing well. I have charge of one floor of our prison and get double rations. We are expecting to be exchanged this fall. I was glad to hear that you was all well. I have made a lot of things of bone (with a table knife and pieces of glass). I hope I will have a chance to send them home this winter yet, I have good clothing and a blanket. Write again.
Your aff, Son
Sergt. Walter Graham.
Co “E” 10th Regt. Vt Vols
Prisoner of war since July 9th/64. Danville, Va. C.S.M. Prison No 1