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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > Charles B. Merrill Transporting 17th Transcript

Charles B. Merrill Transporting 17th Transcript

Headquarters 17th Maine R’gt Vols
Fort Carroll D.C.
September 1, 1862

Hon. Israel Washburne

Sir –

Thinking that you will feel interested in all that interests Maine Men now in service, I send you a brief jotting of the movement of your 17th since ordered from home. Leaving Camp King at Portland on Thursday morning August 21st by rail over Boston & Maine RR, we arrived at Boston without any incident of note promptly at the appointed time – 1 P.M. – then marched across the city – a very hard and uncomfortably hard march – several men were prostrated by the intense heat.

Ab’t five we started for Stonington – There was more enthusiasm among the people outside than in the City – The Steamer Plymouth Rock conveyed the Rg’t over the Sound direct to Jersey City, we were badly treated by the officers of the boat.

From Jersey City to Philadelphia we proceeded in two trains, the first under my charge, the second directed by the Col.  At Philadelphia the generous hearted patriotic women of that city provided for the comfort and welfare of us all with the most profuse liberality.  The sick were ministered unto –the hungry fed, and the weary rested.  On our way to the cars we got pretty well drenched by a heavy shower and towards midnight started for Baltimore. As we marched through that city we found many sour looks and manifest coldness toward us on the part of the bulk of the community but the Union Relief Association redeemed the character of the reception.

Arriving at Washington we were provided with comfortable quarters and refreshment at the Soldiers Rest – and at ab’t 10 P.M. we commenced our march for Fort Baker and at midnight made our bivouac on the grounds near the Fort.

We are distributed through ten forts – the line reaching from Bladensburg Md. to Fort Preble opposite to Alexandria, our headquarters established at Fort Carroll.

We are placed under command of Gen. Bernard who has charge of the defenses of Washington – and by his orders are drilling as a Heavy Artillery Rg’t.

The 14th Mich. Rg’t has since our arrival here been placed on our line, and the 19th Maine is now distributed through the same forts with us. Our location at Head Quarters is one of great beauty commanding a magnificent view of the Potomac and the hill country of Virginia opposite.

The men are doing well and are well cared for by our excellent surgeons Dr’s Wiggin and Westcott. We have thus far maintained our reputation and as proof of this I cite the approval of the manager of the Baltimore RR who said he had passed over his road some 50, 000 troops but that he had less trouble with the 17th than any other Rg’t.

One of the 19th committed suicide the night of their arrival at Fort Wagner – no cause is assigned –

Majors Mann and Jameson –Paymasters called upon us – and Major Mann is anxious to be assigned to our Rg’t when pay day arrives –

This will give you the general “status” of the 17th.

Y’rs &c,
Charles J. Merrill