Charles B. Merrill
September 1, 1862
Charles B. Merrill was a 35 year-old lawyer from Portland, who enlisted and was commissioned as Lieutenant Colonel of the 17th Maine Infantry Regiment on August 1, 1862. He writes to Governor Israel Washburn about the "very hard and uncomfortable march" the Regiment endured while crossing the City of Boston.
"There was more enthusiasm among the people outside of Boston than in the City," he adds. The wild enthusiasm and excitement people displayed for passing troops was already beginning to wane, and by 1863, the sight had become so commonplace that crowds no longer lined the roads and railway tracks to wave them on.
After travelling by steamer and by railway cars, the Regiment was greeted in Philadelphia where "the generous hearted, patriotic women of the 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 passing shower."
The Regiment's welcome in Baltimore was far less friendly.
"As we marched through that city we found sour looks and manifest coldness toward us on the part of the community."
Although Maryland remained in the Union, many of its inhabitants were loyal to the Confederacy, and Baltimore was particularly hostile to the Federal cause.
The 17th Maine finally arrived in Washington, and along with the 19th Maine and the 14th Michigan, they were assigned to a string of forts that had been erected for the defenses of the capital.
"One of the 19th committed suicide the night of their arrival at Fort Wagner," he writes, "no cause is assigned."
Neither the 17th Maine nor the 19th remained sedentary in Washington for very long. They soon resumed their place as infantry regiments and with the Army of the Potomac fought all the way to Appomattox.
Charles Merrill resigned his commission in July, 1864.
- What other States were divided in loyalty between North and South?
- Who was Maryland’s most notorious Confederate sympathizer and what did he do?