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Charles G. Gould Papers

Identifier: mss-1014

Scope and Content Note

The Charles G. Gould Papers consist largely of personal, professional, and military correspondence that document the life of Union solder, Charles Gilbert Gould, from his enlistment in Company G of the 11th Vermont Regiment to his death.

The collection contains hundreds of original letters as well as typed transcripts dated throughout the Civil War, sent largely to and from Gould’s parents, James and Judith Gould, and siblings, Aron and Sue Gould as well as Marcius and Ellen Farnsworth. These letters detail everyday life as a soldier, covering topics like the weather, camp conditions, health, news from friends, recounted battles, and requests for items he wanted his parents to send to keep him comfortable. In addition, there are post-War letters to family, friends, and military and government officials, including letters to T. S. Peck regarding his wife’s death and support for T.S. Peck’s work as Adjutant General as well as letters regarding Gould’s Medal of Honor and his claim to have been the first Union man to surmount Confederate ramparts at Petersburg.

The collection also includes three diaries from his time as a soldier, monthly stores, muster rolls, quarterly returns, invoices, commissions, artillery and infantry brigadier general shoulder straps, a sewing kit, a wall pocket, and corps badges from Gould’s time as a Lieutenant and later Captain, as well as various veteran fraternity programs and pamphlets. Present also is the original saber and scabbard Gould wielded at Petersburg, and the Congressional Medal of Honor he was awarded for the heroism he showed serving as Captain during that siege.

Memos, correspondence, photographs, and professional records illustrate Gould’s work at Federal departments and agencies after the war, including the U.S. Pension Office, the Secretary of War’s office, and the U.S. Patent Office.

Also included in the collection are undated portraits of Gould and Gould’s family, photographs of their homestead in Vermont, photographs of Gould’s reunions with various fellow soldiers, and miscellaneous portraits of family and friends as well as miscellaneous letter fragments, Gould’s marriage certificate to Ella Cobb Harris, newspaper clippings, Gould’s pocket Bible, and additional biographical information compiled by Gould’s daughter, Margaret Owens.

Digital images of the objects in this collection, including the artillery and infantry brigadier general shoulder straps, sewing kit, wall pocket, corps badges, saber and scabbard, and Medal of Honor are linked in the finding aid.


  • 1862-1917


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

Born to James and Judith Gould in Windham, Vermont on May 5, 1844, Charles Gilbert Gould enlisted in Company G of the 11th Vermont Regiment of the Union Army in autumn 1862 at the age of eighteen. In 1864, he was promoted to Lieutenant, and in 1865, Gould was transferred to the 5th Vermont Regiment around which time he was promoted to Captain. He was later brevetted to the rank of major and awarded with a Congressional Medal of Honor for the extraordinary heroism shown while serving as Captain during the final siege of Petersburg in April 1865, where he claimed to have been the first Union man to surmount Confederate ramparts and where he sustained significant injuries.

After the war, Gould returned to Vermont before taking a clerkship with the U.S. Pension Office at Washington, D.C. in 1866. In 1871, upon accepting a position as Chief Clerk in the District of Columbia Water Registrar’s Office, he married Ella Cobb Harris. They had two daughters, Myra Harris Gould, born in 1872, and Ella, who died four days after she was born in 1883.

After a brief stint in Minnesota to recover from tuberculosis in 1874, Gould declined an appointment as U.S. Counsel in Russia and returned to the United States capital to work first for the Secretary of the Navy and then for the Secretary of War while he finished his degree in patent law at Columbian, now known as George Washington University. In 1877, he took a clerkship at the U.S. Patent Office and was promoted to principal examiner in 1884, a position he held until his retirement in 1916.

In 1890, his wife Ella and daughter Myra died of typhoid fever. Three years later, Gould married Ella’s cousin, Frances Lucy Davis, and had a daughter, Margaret Owens (née Davis Gould).

Gould died on December 6, 1916 in Cavendish, Vermont. His daughter Margaret provided transcripts, indexes, and additional biographical information to this collection.


2.25 Linear Feet (4 boxes, 3 objects, 2 oversize folders, 1 carton)

Language of Materials



The Charles G. Gould papers document the life of brevetted Civil War major, Charles G. Gould from his enlistment in Company G of the 11th Vermont Regiment to his death. The collection contains hundreds of pieces of correspondence as well as diaries and transcripts, military and professional papers, photographs, objects, ephemera, and newspaper clippings detailing his time as a soldier in the Civil War as well as his work in numerous Federal departments and agencies post-War.


Library Research Annex; contact for access.

Guide to the Charles G. Gould Papers
2022 November
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)