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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > Calvin Douty 1st Maine Transcript

Calvin Douty 1st Maine Transcript

 Head Quarters 1st Maine Cavalry
Camp near Rappahannock Station Va.
November 16th 1862

To Your Excellency
Hon. Israel Washburn

Having learned of an expedition being fitted out for Texas and to be under the command of Major General Banks, I have caused a petition to be drawn up on behalf of the Regiment to join his command in that expedition, and that petition has been signed by every officer present with the Regiment.

We are all very anxious to join his command and would very respectfully ask that you use your influence in our behalf – as it would go farther toward securing our anticipated position than any other favor that we might hope to receive.

Why we have petitioned for this change is because our Regiment is in a very bad condition – that we are not rendering any marked service but are broken up into squads of from four to twelve men each and scattered throughout our Army on the Potomac as “orderlies” and cattle drivers, and our companies are by these details reduced to about twenty men each for duty. There are also Five Companies separated from us, and upon this same duty – Viz – Co. G is at the Head Quarters, 1st Army Corps, on Provost Duty. Co. L is at the same Hd. Qrs. as “Orderlies.” Co’s H and M are with General Porter’s Command – another Army Corps – as “Orderlies” – they have been with the command since August last. Co. I is with General Burnside on the same duty.  The remnant of this Regiment which I now have the honor to command remains with General Reynolds Com’dg, 1st Army Corps, as a reserve and are subject to frequent details by different Commands.

I cannot describe our position in a better way than by comparing it with some errand boy who is used by everyone and for every purpose, and receives no reward for his services except that once in a while his masters say to him, ‘Well – you have done that to suit me – now I wish you to do something else.’ Our State receives no credit for our services – the Regiment receives no credit for our services. If our friends at home did not receive intelligence concerning us through some letter from those among us, they would not know the 1st Maine Cavalry is in existence.  Its name is never mentioned in any official report where it has a just claim in place of other Regiments, nor are we accounted for, only as “Orderlies.”  

I have thought – ‘What a misfortune it is, that wehave smart intelligent men who fill our ranks instead of know-nothing Dutchmen – men of all nations and classes – some of whom cannot read or write nor speak the English Language so as to be understood as other cavalry regiments in the service have.’ This “misfortune” is the cause of our disorganization. Our men make good “Orderlies” – they are smart and intelligent, they are Maine Men – they can read and write, and they can act equal to any men in the service, and for these “misfortunes our
Regiment is broken up. 

My object in asking your assistance in the acceptance of our petition is that the Regiment may once more be brought together so that it may be effective as a regiment, and the best way, and the way that will be the most satisfactory to the officers and soldiers of this reg’t  in which we may be united is by joining Maj. Gen. Banks’ command.  We may then have an opportunity to act and help sustain the good reputation of our State’s troops, and to make a good mark for ourselves as of Maine’s Regiments.

The petition was forwarded yesterday to Maj. Gen. Banks of Washington City.

Other advantages that we may be favored with – should we be fortunate in our design, may be understood by you without any unnecessary explanation from m, as you are somewhat acquainted with some of the affairs of this Regiment.  Hoping that you will favor us with your just consideration,

I remain
Very Respectfully,
Your Ob’t Servant,
C. Douty
Lieut. Col. Com’d’g 1st Maine Cavalry