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Local Historian Discusses October 19, 1864 And Vermont Women's Role In The Civil War

A group of people point guns at two people with their right hands raised.
St. Albans Historical Museum, Courtesy
Vermonters at the St. Albans Bank were forced to take an oath of loyalty to the 'the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.'

This weekend marks the 155th anniversary of a key Civil War victory for Union troops known as theBattle of Cedar Creek. On that same day, a Confederate raid took place in St. Albans, Vermont — robbing a local bank and killing one citizen before escaping to Canada.

And while much is known about Vermont's generals and sharpshooters, what about the Vermont women who sustained the home front?

Local historian Howard Coffin joins Vermont Edition to talk about the two concurrent events on October 19, 1864 and his new research on the role women in Vermont played during the Civil War.

While the state’s able-bodied men were away at war, Vermont women managed the operations of more than 30,000 farms and worked in factories to manufacture much-needed supplies for soldiers. Others joined the war effort by editing anti-slavery newspapers, speaking out against slavery, and teaching classes to newly-freed slaves in the South.

Coffin's research draws from letters and diaries of Vermont women during the Civil War to tell their stories in their own words — including that of one Vermont woman, who appears to have secretly enlisted and fought in a Vermont regiment.

Coffin, who is a seventh-generation Vermonter, has written four books on Vermonters in the Civil War, including:

Broadcast live on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
Anna Ste. Marie joined the organization in early 2017 in the Marketing & Engagement department. She got her start as an intern for Vermont Edition while receiving her B.A. in Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts from St. Michael’s College in 2016. Anna is a lifelong Vermonter, hailing from the Northeast Kingdom. She loves flowers, cats, TikTok, crafts and the juiciest reality TV drama.
April Qian was a part-time producer for Vermont Edition.
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