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A volunteer for the Union

Ripley was an accomplished writer and historians are the beneficiaries. His 400 detailed letters about daily life during the war-torn 1860s were sent from the war's southern front to his family safe and snug in Rutland; the letters are rare gems among the annals of the Civil War.

Sadly, Ripley's eloquent book of letters, published as "Vermont General: The Unusual War Experiences of Edward Hastings Ripley 1862-65", is long out of print. The classic book deserves new life with a new edition published for modern readers.

Ripley lived a prosperous, contented life after the war. He served as a Vermont state representative and continued in his father's banking and marble business in Rutland County. He died at his estate in Mendon in 1915 prior to America's entry into World War I.

Tired of brother-against-brother carnage, many Vermonters at the time believed showy displays of patriotism would offend returning veterans. Not so, said Ripley.

"Those who argue that henceforth the Fourth of July will be dull and stupid are wrong," he wrote. "Salutes to our flag will stir the blood of thousands of men aching for noise and excitement, and it will thrill through them like wine to a thirsty man."

No Ripley family member is alive in Rutland today. The Center, the stately old Ripley family homestead, became a clubhouse and later a private residence but you can still see it standing along old Route 4.

Gen. Ripley's remains rest in hallowed ground beneath a stately monument in Rutland's Evergreen Cemetery.

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