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Proctor Swallow’s letters to his friend and brother-in-law Loomis Spalding depict the ordinary Civil War soldier’s view of camp life, eagerness to know what is going on in other parts of the war and concern for the family at home. He describes, sometimes vividly, the places and events he sees and relates them to what he remembers. He would be at home with the Doughboy or GI Joe. Proctor Swallow mustered into the Seventh Vermont Volunteer Regiment at its formation at the Rutland Fair Grounds in February 1862. He mustered out with the Seventh Vermont Veteran Volunteer Regiment in Brattleboro in March 1866. He served the entire time as a member of I Company in a variety of jobs including infantryman, tailor, and company clerk. The officers and men of the Seventh expected to fight with other Vermont regiments in Virginia when they enlisted. Instead they were sent to the Gulf of Mexico as a result of some political machinations by General Ben Butler. They served in several locations in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. At the end of the war, while most Vermont units were parading down Pennsylvania Avenue in the victory celebration on their way home, the Seventh was sent to Texas and stationed along the Rio Grande River. It was the last Vermont Volunteer Regiment to return.

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