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John French Transcript
This letter belongs to the Fifth Maine Regiment Museum, located on Peaks Island.
Lewiston April 30 61
Perhaps you will condemn my actions, but I feel that I am but doing my duty to my country. I have enlisted and when you get this letter I shall probaly be in Fort Preble at Portland. think not that this is a hasty step, for it is not so. I did not act in a moment of excitement but concidered it calmly. I wanted to go with the first companies but thought I would wait and concider so that no chance for regret should remain. I at my being in a hurry last Friday two companies left this town and immedeatly another company began to form and is now more than full numbering 75 members We drill three times every day and are expecting orders to go to Portland every day our company gets compliments from all sides the first two companies were composed of loafers and rowdies while we are made up of working men mostly there are 7 or 8 Students from the Seminary but they are rugged looking fellows, we are called the Lewiston Light Guard but then we ain’t so light as we might be I tell you by gosh I feel as though I could fight like a hero and if I could get Jef Davis’s hide I think my fortune would be made But then every body must think now that there won’t be much fighting done any how at preasant. we may stay at Portland all summer but I hope not for I have made up my mind to fight and if I have a chance to I shall do it now you but don’t think that I am reckless or excited for I am as calm and have been ever so since I enlisted as I ever was in my life but somebody must go but I don’t know of any body who can go better than I. I shall endeavor to do my duty and if I am unfortunate why so mite it be the cause is just, and if my humble life can help drive out those traitors from the soil it may freely go I should not have hesitated in the first place if I had been alone but the thoughts that it might cause you sorrow held me back, but the strong desire in my bosom grew stronger and at last I thought I must go and go I did and I wouldn’t back out now on no terms we have been got a noble set of fellows and woe to the rebels that gets in our way. The prospect was that I should not have business all summer but I think the mills will not stop they have got a years cotton on hand, according to reports the south is backing down, and if “ain’t they had better be.
May the 5 ‘61
To day we have been to meeting we marched in regular order with out our arm’s the people say we mak the best apparance of any company that has been here I stated in the first part of my leter that we were going to Fort Preble but I beleive that the regument that we are going into which is the fourth, is going to make an emcampment in the Citty of Portland. there is lots of the boys from Portland back here to day on leive strutting ‘round in thier uniforms they look quite grand. there has been a theatre here for the last ten nights and last Friday night our oficer took us to it we marched with our guns right it to the hall (Central Hall) and had the front seats. Oh we are bound for Dixie’s land that’s sure hallilugian hura for the good old Stars & Stripes tell Dr Fuller that I looked around for him but evary body has about all the help they want at preasant except the one horse confedracy down South I should have answered his letter but have been to busy I shall leave my trunk here untill Ann comes up and if she don’t come up she must write to Lizzie or Charly and they will send it home but if I stop in Portland it may as well stay here as any whare but I hope I shall go farther than P. just to see the country if nothing more. I feel first rate rugged as a bear & just about as savag ho ho – I suppose you’ll say oh I guess he will sing a different song from that when he gets out south but I guess I shant it may be so that if I stay in P. that I can come home once and a while for if I can get leive it wont cost me a cent to ride on the cars any whare. But I cant think of any thing more to write at preasant tell all the folk that I should like to see them but cant at preasant I hope you”ll approve of my going & say go it old hunks you are good for it. but then I suppose it’s no trifling matter after all. but it is gitting late so for the preasant good by when I get to P. I will write again. from your ever remembering son and Brother
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