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Charles B. Merrill Ready for Battle Transcript
Head Quarters 17th Maine Rg’t Vols
Dear Sir – Yesterday our Rg’t was put into marching trim though we have not received marching orders – The men have five days rations of hard bread, coffee, sugar & salt in their knapsacks and a pair of socks & drawers and shirt – They are to have three days rations of pork or bacon, hard bread &c. to put into their haversacks just before they start, so that each man will have eight days rations on hand – The teams are to carry four more –
The men were ordered yesterday to give up all their extra clothing and their blankets and these articles have been sent to the rear. You can infer from this that the army will move with rapidity when it starts.
Twelve thousand Cavalry – eight batteries and an Infantry force started on an expedition on Monday morning, but as yet we have no news of their movements.
Our Reg’t has about five hundred fighting men, in good condition – and in better spirits than they were in midwinter – I think they will do honor to Maine.
Dr. Hersom, the new Surgeon, has reported for duty, and has been mustered in – we like him and I believe he will fill Dr. Wiggin’s place with credit. Col. Roberts is absent on sick leave – but I hope his health will improve by the change of air.
Please remember me to your Adj’t Gen’l – and believe me Sir –
P.S. We are now in the midst of a heavy rain – and I doubt if the Army can move for the present.
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