Edson & Philo Emery Letters

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From 1861 Envelope 

These incredible letters were written by Edson Emery (1833-1915) and Philo Emery (1836-1864) of Co. E, 2nd Vermont Infantry. They were the sons of Joel Emery (1787-1860) and Lucy Goddard (1797-1878) of Tunbridge, Vermont. The letters are part of a large collection that has been in private hands for decades and has never been transcribed and published before. There are 77 letters presented here that were penned by either Edson or Philo—or both—while serving in the 2nd Vermont Infantry. Most of their letters were sent to their brother Leonard who managed the family farm when he was not in the service, or to their mother—a semi-literate widow who saw four sons and one son-in-law go off to fight for the Union. One of her sons and her son-in-law did not survive the war.

The two other sons who served in the Union army were Silas Goddard Emery (1816-1884) and Leonard Emery (1829-1884). Both served in the 12th Vermont Infantry—a 9-month’s regiment organized in the late summer of 1862.

Obituary notice for Philo Emery, Vermont Journal (Windsor, Vermont), dated 9 July 1864:

“At Armory Square Hospital, Washington D. C., Philo Emery, of Tunbridge, aged nearly 28 years. He was a member of the 2nd Regiment of Vermont Vols. When the war broke out, he hastened to offer his services to his country. He passed through all the engagements in which his regiment participated up to the battle of the Wilderness on the 5th day of May. In this battle, he was seriously wounded in the knee. He was carried to the hospital and died June 9th. Mr. Emery was a good soldier, faithful to his duties to the Army and his government. He died as a Christian dies. His last message to his friends at home was, ‘Tell them I die right.’ His ashes repose among his native hills besides those of other members of his family.”

Obituary Notice for Edson Emery:

“Edson Emery was born in Tunbridge July 26, 1833, a son of Joel and Lucy (Goddard) Emery, and was the last of their nine children. He grew to young manhood in his native town, worked on the railroad, engaged in the drover business and interested himself in several pursuits until the Civil War broke out. Then he enlisted in Co. E, 2d Vermont Regiment twelve days after the Fort Sumter was fired upon and saw three years hard service. He was in 22 battles—the first battle of Bull Run, the Yorktown siege of five weeks, Lee’s Mills, Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Golden’s Farm, Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, second battle of Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Marye’s Heights, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Mine Run, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Bethsaida Church and Cold Harbor. When the regiment was in front of Petersburg his term expired and he returned to the North.

He had  three brothers—Silas, Leonard and Philo—and a brother-in-law [Jasper Lyman] in the army with him. Philo Emery was wounded and died. Mr. Edson Emery was never seriously hurt in the storms of lead he had so often to face but he bore the scars of a good many flesh wounds. During all his service, he kept a diary which is a faithful story of the stirring events in which he participated and reveals a keen eye and discerning mind. 

On May 20, 1866, Mr. Emery married Jennie Gay of Gaysville,” the daughter of Paul W. and Phalina (Abbott) Gay. 


  • Edson Emery’s Civil War Diary and papers, 1861-1863 are housed in the Special Collections of the Universities of Vermont Libraries in Burlington, Vt.
  • Philo Emery’s two diaries, (1861-1862) and (1863-1864), are housed in the Jack & Shirley Silver Special Collections Library at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

Family

Joel Emery (1787-1860) married Lucy Goddard (1797-1878). At least nine children:

  • Silas Goddard (1816-1884), married Catherine M. Littlefield (1830-1911) in November 1849.
  • Nancy (1818-Aft1880), married Jasper Lyman (1825-1863). Love in Duxbury, Vt.
  • Isaac (1821-1896), married Alice Austin (1821-1884) in March 1854. Lived in Bethel, Windsor county, Vt.
  • Gardner (1826-1848)
  • Caroline (1828-1893), married Ezra Briggs (1817-1879) in August 1858. Lived in Brookfield, Orange county, Vt. Ezra a boot & shoe maker.
  • Love Ann (1828-18xx), married Samuel Turner
  • Leonard (1829-1884) married Mary ? about late 1860? A farmer.
  • Edson (1833-1915), married Jennie Gay in 1866.
  • Philo (1836-1864)

List of Letters

[Note to readers: Each letter is saved on a separate page which can be viewed by clicking on the link below. To return to this list of letters page, use the return key on your browser.]

1861

17 May 1861; Edson Emery to Philo Emery, N. Tunbridge, Vt.

25 May 1861; Edson Emery to Philo Emery, N. Tunbridge, Vt.

8 September 1861; Philo Emery to Friends, Chain Bridge, Va.

28 September 1861; Philo Emery to Lucy Emery, Fort Smith, Va.

6 October 1861; Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Fort Smith, Va.

12 October 1861; Philo Emery, to Leonard Emery, Chain Bridge, Va.

18 October 1861; Philo Emery to Friends, Camp Griffin, Va.

20 October 1861; Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

22 October 1861; Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

27 October 1861; Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

30 October 1861; Philo & Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

10 November 1861; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

1862

1 January 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

5 January 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

14 January 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

24 January 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

26 January 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

10 February 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

18 February 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

23 February 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

2 March 1862; Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Griffin, Va.

11 March 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Flint Hill, Va.

13 March 1862; Edson Emery to Lucy Emery, Flint Hill, Va.

17 March 1862; Philo Emery to Lucy & Leonard Emery, Bush Hill, Va.

20 March 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Cloud’s Mills, Va.

26 March 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Lucy & Leonard Emery, Near Fortress Monroe, Va.

31 March 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Newport News, Va.

6 April 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Warwick Swamp, Va.

22 April 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, In front of Enemy’s Works, Va.

27 April 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Opposite Lees Mills, Va.

6 May 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Fortifications near Williamsburg, Va.

10 May 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, 25 Miles North of Williamsburg, Va.

14 May 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Meadow on Bank of Pamunkey Creek, Va.

18 May 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Lucy & Leonard Emery, White House on Pamunkey Creek, Va.

22 May 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, New Bridge, Va.

25 May 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Lucy & Leonard Emery, Cold Harbor, Va.

27 May 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Cold Harbor, Va.

1 June 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Cold Harbor, Va.

7 June 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, West Bluff Chickahominy, Va.

15 June 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, West Bluff Chickahominy, Va.

22 June 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, West Bluff Chickahominy, Va.

26 June 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp Lincoln, Va.

9 July 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Near James River, Va.

13 July 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Near Harrison’s Landing, Va.

20 July 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Lucy & Leonard Emery, Near Harrison’s Landing, Va.

25 July 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Near Harrison’s Landing, Va.

2 August 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Near Harrison’s Landing, Va.

10 August 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Near Harrison’s Landing, Va.

16 August 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Near Harrison’s Landing, Va.

3 September 1862; Philo & Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp California, Va.

4 September 1862; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Camp California, Va.

13 September 1862; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Buckeystown, Md.

19 September 1862; Philo Emery to Lucy Emery, Near Sharpsburg, Md.

28 October 1862; Edson Emery to Lucy Emery, Hagerstown, Md.

5 November 1862; Philo Emery to Lucy Emery, Union, Va.

15 December 1862; Edson Emery to Lucy Emery, Battlefield Fredericksburg, Va.

27 December 1862; Edson Emery to Lucy Emery, Near Belle Plains, Va.

1863

3 January 1863; Philo Emery to Lucy Emery, Belle Plains Landing, Va.

15 January 1863; Edson & Philo Emery to Lucy Emery, Belle Plains Landing, Va.

6 April 1863; Edson Emery to Lucy Emery, White Oak Church, Va.

20 April 1863; Philo & Edson Emery to Lucy Emery, White Oak Church, Va.

4 May 1863; Philo Emery to Lucy Emery, On Battlefield near Fredericksburg, Va.

5 May 1863; Edson Emery to Lucy Emery, Falmouth, Va.

14 May 1863; Philo Emery to Lucy Emery, White Oak Church, Va.

31 May 1863; Edson & Philo Emery to Lucy Emery, White Oak Church, Va.

1 September 1863; Philo Emery to Edson Emery, Warrenton, Va.

3 September 1863; Philo Emery to Edson Emery, Warrenton, Va.

11 September 1863; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Poughkeepsie, N. J.

13 September 1863; Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Warrenton, Va.

20 September 1863; Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Culpeper Court House, Va.

16 October 1863; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Chantilly, Va.

10 December 1863; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Brandy Station, Va.

27 December 1863; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Brandy Station, Va.

1864

6 January 1864; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Brandy Station, Va.

26 February 1864; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Brandy Station, Va.

4 March 1864; Edson Emery to Leonard Emery, Brandy Station, Va.

30 March 1864; Edson & Philo Emery to Leonard Emery, Brandy Station, Va.


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Notification to family of the death & burial of Philo Emery at Armory Square Hospital on 9 June 1864. 


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This 1859 broadside announcing the “Grand Annual Independence Ball at Aolian Hall in Bethel, Vermont” was included with the Emery Letters and I wanted to include it here so that the documents could be preserved together.

 

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