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Vermont Legislature Honors Historian Howard Coffin

A Vermont State Senate resolution honoring Civil War author and preservationist Howard Coffin was presented at the State House on May 16. He was cited "for his decade of literary and advocacy efforts to record and preserve Vermont's Civil War history."

U.S. Senator James M. Jeffords and former Governor Thomas P. Salmon were among those paying tribute to Coffin at a reception held in the State House's Cedar Creek Room. It is named for the large Julian Scott painting of the Battle of Cedar Creek that is the state's official Civil War memorial.

Coffin, who had two great-grandfathers in the Civil War, is the author of three Vermont Civil War books - Full Duty, Vermont in the Civil War; Nine Months to Gettysburg; and The Battered Stars. Full Duty was the first history of Vermont in the Civil War published since 1886.

Coffin has long been active in battlefield preservation, and served on the national Civil War Sites Advisory Commission and the board of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites.

"I know of no single individual who has brought forth a single state's Civil War history and worked so effectively to preserve its Civil War heritage," said Senator William Doyle, dean of the State Senate.

Jeffords said, "Howard Coffin's pressure on me to save the battlefields has been unrelenting. I have been so pleased to help."

State Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, chair of the Senate Institutions Committee, related how Coffin, time and again, had come before his committee with requests for funding Civil War projects and with resolutions which, after passage, were presented to Jeffords for action.

Governor Salmon recalled Coffin's years as a political reporter and talked about his career transition to author and preservationist. "Vermont Civil War history and the name Howard Coffin are synonymous," he said.

In his remarks Coffin said that efforts to protect battlefields must continue. He said that Jeffords, in recent years, has been the most important person in Congress in the battlefield preservation effort.

More than 125 guests heard the reading of the resolution, which cited Coffin for his books, the more than 200 talks he has given throughout Vermont, in addition to radio and television and his work in saving 500 acres of the Wilderness Battlefield.

The citation mentioned Coffin's important role in bringing two Civil War paintings to the State House, his efforts for the preservation of Vermont's Civil War military records, and work with the National Park Service to bring the Civil War history of

It concluded, "...the General Assembly expresses its deep sense of gratitude to Howard Coffin for his decade of literary and advocacy efforts to record and preserve Vermont's Civil War history."

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