September 20th 1862
Jeremiah Bartlett, a loyal citizen from Lockes Mills, was outraged that Dennis Cole, of the 17th Maine Infantry Regiment, "is at home riding round as large as life, sporting on the bounty money" that he had received from the town of Greenwood.
Bartlett reported Cole to two policemen and one Justice of the Peace, but "still the secesh is at home with a nest of secessionists that should be broken up."
In a letter to Maine Adjutant General John Hodsdon, Bartlett is hopeful that the Adjutant General will do something about it.
Bartlett doubts that Cole has the discharge paper that he claims to have because Cole "takes good care not to show it. This playing sick by such men should be punished – he is a well man."
It was difficult to tell how many actual secessionists or true Southern sympathizers were in Maine. "Secesh" was a term of opprobrium often hurled at someone who criticized the war effort, or who belonged to the Democratic Party, or who failed to display sufficient patriotism to satisfy the neighbors. Many men who were not enthusiastic about joining the army risked being branded as "Secesh."
Resistance existed, especially in western Maine, to recruiters and other Government officials seeking men for the Army in the summer and fall of 1862.
So many men were home at that time on sick leave, furlough, or who were, indeed, deserters, that special agents were assigned to visit such men and determine their true status. In Piscataquis, Oxford and Franklin counties, the agents were sometimes threatened with violence. (See Gilman Page’s letter of August 22,1862.)
Jeremiah Bartlett distrusts Dennis Cole, his family, and his neighbors. He writes Hodsdon that, "I should not be in such haste to report him, but I am fearful he will skedaddle to Canada or some where else, as he is a full blooded secesh and all his family ditto."
"There is a nest of traitors in Bethel and another small knot of them in Greenwood," he writes "… but the most of the damn fools don't know any better – tools for rascally demagogues…."
Bartlett ends his letter recommending that they all be hanged.
Despite Bartlett's suspicions, Dennis Cole had legitimate discharge papers. He was discharged for disability on September 1, 1862.
- If there were sincere Confederate sympathizers or "secesh" types in Maine what sorts of people do you think they might be?
- Where would you expect to find them?