Virtual MuseumThe Carl Braun Collection
A summertime acquisition of what would under most circumstances be an ordinary request for an early discharge from service, turned out to be much more than that. Along with the letters from the soldier in question and his brother, various endorsements and dispositions bear the signatures of some Vermont Civil War notables.
Signatories include Vermont's Governor Frederick Holbrook, Colonel Wheelock G. Veazey (commanding the 16th Regiment), Brigadier General George J. Stannard (commanding the 2nd Brigade) and Brigadier General J. J. Abercrombie (commanding the division) and Major General Samuel P. Heintzelman (commanding XXII Corps/Department of Washington).
The 16th Vermont was part of the "Second Vermont Brigade" and was attached to General Reynolds' First Corps, Army of the Potomac, in late June of 1863, immediately following this exchange of correspondence. It was on the field all three days at Gettysburg, yet suffered only light casualties.Wilmington, Vermont. June 5, 1863 Col. Wheelock G. Veazey -- Sir-I address you to solicit your assistance to procure the discharge from service of my brother William H. Tyler of company B, in your Regiment. The case is this-a few months previous to his enlistment he had made an arrangement with Father to remain at home and take care of him and his property in his old age. But when the call was made for the 300,000 militia men, he realized that it was for him and every other young man in Guilford, and responded to it. Father was then seventy-two years of age and quite inform. He owned a large farm and considerable other property and would be left with no one with him but an unmarried daughter in full health, and hired help, and William being his dependence, he reluctantly and from a sense of duty consented to let him enlist, hoping to be able to see to his affairs until his return. But about four weeks since Father was taken suddenly and dangerously ill and erysipilas which has thus far baffled the skill of his physicians to control. Dr. Warren, his present physician, is now of the opinion that he will ultimately recover, but it is a dangerous disease and may suddenly terminate fatally. Father is very anxious to have the discharge of his son from service procured if possible, not so much because he needs his care and oversight over his business, as because he feels apprehension that he shall not live till his son's term of service expires. He is inclined to regard this as his last illness, and at his age and with this disease, his recovery is, to say the least, doubtful. I have stated this case, sir, aware that similar ones are frequently presented to your notice, yet hoping that in some respects you may deem it as an unusual one and one worthy of your consideration and influence. I have presented the case to his Excellency Gov. Holbrook, who will have the great kindness to endorse this letter and forward it to you. I have the honor to be, sir, Very Respectfully Yours, James M. Tyler
(On the back of James Tyler's letter is the following)State of Vermont Executive Chamber Brattleboro; June 8th, 1863 To Col. W. G. Veasey, The within applications comes from a highly respectable source, and its statements are undoubtably reliable. If anything can be done about the discharge of young Tyler, I hope it may be done. Very truly &c. Fredk. Holbrook Gov. of Vermont
(Having received his brother's letter, endorsed by Governor Holbrook,
William Tyler pressed his case.)Camp at Union Mills, Virginia June 14th, 1863 To. H. O. Peabody Adjutant 16th Regt. Vermont Vol. Militia. Sir. I have the honor to ask that I may be discharged from the Military Service of the United States, for the following reason, viz, My father who is seventy two years of age has been taken dangerously ill and is not expected to live and my attendance at home is greatly needed. I would refer you to the annexed letter and application endorsed by Gov. Holbrook of Vermont for full particulars. I am Sir, very Respectfully Your Obdt. Servant William H. Tyler Private Co. B 16th Regt. Vt. Vol. M.
(Endorsed at bottom of page)Approved and Respectfully forwarded. Robt. B. Arms Captain Co. B 16th Vt. Vol. Militia
(From here the case moved with amazing speed through the various echelons of command, and while William may have been surprised at how quickly it came, the decision surely disappointed him.)Appved & Resplly forwarded W. G. Veazey Col. Comdg Regt Head Quarters 2 Brigade Abercombies Division Union Mills June 15/63 Approved and respectfully forwarded Geo. J. Stannard Brig Gen Commg HdQrs Abercrombie's Division June 16th 1863 Disapproved and respectfully forwarded J.J. Abercrombie Brig Genl Comg Head Quarters Dept. of Washington June 17th 1863 Respy. Returned to Brig. Genl. Abercrombie comdg. Division. Disapproved. By Command of Maj. Genl. Heintzelman Carroll H. Potter Capt. & AAG Head Quarters Ambercrombies Division Centreville June 20, 1863 Respectfully returned By order of Brig Gen Abercrombie. J.A. Slippen AAG
Source: Transcript of an original manuscript from the collection of Carl Braun, Windsor, Vt.
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