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We're coming Father Abra'am': Vermont in the Civil War

"The 1960s was the centennial of the war," he said. "And then years later, when I was living in Maryland, I was located 50 miles from Gettysburg, 40 miles from Antietam, and 80 miles from Fredericksburg. So, on days off from work, I took many field trips and read lots of books about the Civil War."

Now a resident of Rutland, Wickman's Civil War interest was focused on the Green Mountain State's role in the bloody war.

According to Wickman, Vermonters in the 1860s were less motivated by the high ideals of liberating slaves than in simply fighting for the homeland-that is, preservation of the federal union.

"The soldiers wrote about 'coloreds' or 'niggers' in their letters home, so maybe their reason to fight wasn't all about freedom of the slaves," he said. "Many viewed African-Americans as second-class citizens, so-yes-there was prejudice. Even though Vermont had a black population in the 1860s, the prejudice was very subtle."

Wickman is currently writing an historical handbook for the Mt. Independence Coalition in Orwell and an illustrated book about Vermont Civil War photographer George Houghton for the Vermont Historical Society.

"I keep finding little gems of Vermont history," he said. "There's always something to write about."

Check It Out: "We Are Coming Father Abra'am: The 9th Vermont Volunteer Infantry 1862-1865, Patriots", published by Schroeder Publications, is available at local bookstores and on Amazon.com in a hardcover edition for $45. The book includes many photographs and maps chronicling the 9th Vermont's adventures in war and peace.

Vermont's gallant 9th: 1862-65

The Vermont Volunteer Infantry 9th Regiment was formed in Brattleboro during the U.S Civil War and served gallantly in the Union Army, according to Don Wickman.

The Vermont 9th fought in the bloody eastern theater beginning in July 1862 and disbanded after the war ended in December 1865.

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