Post by benotforgot on Apr 16, 2008 21:22:44 GMT -5
On this date in our family history . . . the 16th day of April . . . in the year 1816 . . . William Thurston Merrill is born in Scarboro, Cumberland County, Maine . . . on his 48th birthday . . . in the year 1864 . . . he is a patient at the U.S. Barracks Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana . . .
Post by benotforgot on Apr 20, 2008 17:57:10 GMT -5
On this date in our family history . . . the 20th day of April . . . in the year 1864 . . . William Thurston Merrill pens a letter to his daughter, Phoebe . . . at that time, William is sick in the U.S. Hospital at the New Orleans Barracks in Louisiana . . . and Phoebe is at home in Maine . . . this William is a great-grandpa, and Phoebe is the maternal grandma, of Elizabeth Marilla Henry nee Smith (1912-1932) . . . who is the maternal grandma of the Keeper of this family history timeline . . .
Special thanks to our cousins, Ariana Bratt and Susan Snow, for sharing the following info.
William Thurston Merrill went into the Civil War in 1861. He was a member of H Company 30th Volunteer Maine Regiment, which was engaged in Louisiana at Sabine Cross Road on April 8, 1864, Pleasant Hill on April 9, 1864, and Cane River Cross on April 23, 1864.
Williams's last battle was at Pleasant Hill, where 11 of his regiment were killed, 66 wounded and 71 missing. By the end of the war, his regiment lost 34 from wounds and 256 of disease. William, my (Ariana's) great-great-great grandfather, was one of those who escaped bullets and imprisonment to nearly die from disease.
William Thurston Merrill sent a letter to his family on April 20, 1864 as he lay in a hospital in New Orleans suffering from hepatitis at age 48. It is written with phonetic spelling which demonstrates that his hard life as a farmer left little time for formal schooling.
I now Seat myself to let you that I am hear and Best I found yet I have A nuf to eat and a good clean bed. I was in the Batle on the 9 and 10 at the plesent hill the hardest famr Battle yet the bulits flue Around my head like Hale Stones. We hed A March of 22 days was 400 Miles. We fell back toGrand dy chore red river. Was the gun boats loude. I hed the yellows and toock of dierre and one More man from Saco left on the 13 toock the boat for New Orleans I am gitting Smart
I hope you are all well. We left the riedg in line of battle. Have ben fiteen sens they ar havein A hard time. I think myself luckey to get Away and you may be so glad that bet like A fool I have rote once before tell Mouther to mind her calf done yet lousezy. Tell Daniel to plant all the potatoes he can and make the pig groe to 500 and fat the black cow. I will come home and help you eat it tell John I will rite to him soon tell if oald dick has so old me his farm And how kimpcy getting Along. I done want to foss is dog to bite my cows. You beter get tham in father pasture. You mite try the black cow and heffer A spell in the commons but loock out and have a pasture enny way. Daniel better help his grand father wat he can. I think he will fare the Beter. Kiss all the family for me so I must close new good by this from your father.
Direct to New orlons LA Barrecks US hospittle.
Now done give yourself No on car nie About me. I am doing fust rate. I come hear my 48 birthday (Born April 4, 1816 so came there on April 4, 1864)
Post by benotforgot on Apr 7, 2009 23:23:05 GMT -5
Ariana wrote :: William Thurston Merrill went into the Civil War in 1861. He was a member of H Company 30th Volunteer Maine Regiment, which was engaged in Louisiana at Sabine Cross Road on April 8, 1864, Pleasant Hill on April 9, 1864, and Cane River Cross on April 23, 1864. Williams's last battle was at Pleasant Hill, where 11 of his regiment were killed, 66 wounded and 71 missing. By the end of the war, his regiment lost 34 from wounds and 256 of disease. William, my great-great-great grandfather, was one of those who escaped bullets and imprisonment to nearly die from disease.
Battle of Sabine Crossroads or Mansfield 08 April 1864
Sabine Crossroads was the first of two battles that ended any chance of Union success in the Red River campaign. This campaign had been launching in mid-March 1864 with the aim of capturing north-west Louisiana and threatening Texas.
It suffered from several serious problems. First, there was no clear command structure. General Banks was in charge of the land expedition, while Admiral Porter had command of a gun boat fleet on the river, General Sherman retained overall (if distant) command of a large part of the army detached from his command at Vicksburg and finally General Steele had command of another army, heading south from Little Rock, Arkansas. The two expeditions were meant to meet at Shreveport, close to the Texas border and well inside Confederate territory.
The second major problem was that there was little enthusiasm for the campaign. General Banks, based at New Orleans, would have preferred to move east towards Mobile. U.S. Grant, who was appointed to overall command of the Union armies at the start of March agreed with him. However, by then the operation was already well advanced, and so Grant let it continue. However, he did put a time limit on it. Banks had until 25 April to capture Shreveport, or he would have to return the troops donated by Sherman.
Finally, the Red River itself was only navigable for a short period in the spring. In 1864 the river rose late and fell early, causing delays at the start of the expedition, and a serious crisis at its end.
Despite these problems, Banks made good progress. By the end of March he had reached Alexandria, where he met up with Sherman's men and the gun boat fleet. On 3 April the fleet got past the rapids above Alexandria, and the advance towards Shreveport was on.
By the end of 7 April the federal force had reached the vicinity of Pleasant Hill, only two days march from Shreveport. However it was badly stretched out along a single road, with almost a days march between the advance guard and the rear of the army. Thus although Banks had around 26,000 men available on 8 April, only a small part of that force was involved in the days fighting.
His direct opponent was General Richard Taylor. He had a force of around 11,000 men, which on 7 April was at Mansfield, directly in the path of Banks's advance. His immediate superior, Edmund Kirby Smith, was also in the area. After a visit to Taylor at Mansfield, Kirby Smith gave him orders to avoid battle, but to select a position in which he could fight one. He was also to send out a reconnaissance in force, which Kirby Smith hoped would reveal if Banks's infantry was vulnerable to attack.
On the morning on 8 April the Federal advance continued. The cavalry was already several miles ahead of the infantry columns. By noon the gap was sufficiently large to convince Taylor that the infantry was not moving at all. By this time Taylor had moved his army from Mansfield to Sabine Crossroads, taking up a strong position at the edge of a rare clearing in the woods.
The first Federal troops to discover this position were the cavalry. They were soon joined by two brigades of infantry from the 13th Corps. Two hours of skirmishing followed, before at about 4 p.m. a Confederate assault was launched, with Brigadier-General Alfred Mouton's division at its heart. It is possible that Mouton launched this attack without orders. However, Mouton was killed early in the attack, and Taylor later took responsibility of the action. Whoever ordered the attack, it was an immediate success. The Federal line, outnumbered two-to-one, soon collapsed into retreat. That retreat was turned into a near-rout when the retreating men collided with the cavalry supply train, who were far too far to the front. Finally, a rearguard action by Brigadier-General William H. Emory's division halted Taylor's pursuit. When darkness fell, Banks ordered the army to regroup at Pleasant Hill.
The next day Taylor launched a second attack on the forces at Pleasant Hill and suffered a serious defeat. However, his victory at Sabine Crossroads was enough to end the Red River expedition. The time limits imposed on Banks meant that he did not have the time to regroup after any significant defeat. The retreat itself came close to turning into a disaster when the falling water levels in the Red River threatened to trap the gun boat fleet above Alexandria. Only a great deal of effort and ingenuity prevented the minor rebuff at Sabine Crossroads and Pleasant Hill turning into one of the worst Union defeats in the western theatre.
Rickard, J (14 August 2007), Battle of Sabine Crossroads or Mansfield, 8 April 1864 ,
Post by benotforgot on Aug 10, 2009 9:32:21 GMT -5
He was discharged in New Orleans with the "yellows" on 10 Aug 1864. From his letter he revealed that he participated in the Red River Campaign from 10 Mar to 22 May 1864. His daughter, Lucy Emma, recounted to her grandson, Harold Snow, the day of his homecoming to his wife & 8 children, who ranged in age from 3 to 23.
The military simply placed him on a railroad car headed North without any fanfare. He was dropped at the West Scarborough station on the Blue Point road to walk home.
Lucy Emma Merrill was 9 years old when she & her mother & 7 siblings saw a man in rags walking towards their farmhouse across their field from the railroad tracks. They feared he was a tramp coming to rob them.
As he approached, he was so thin, haggard, & yellow that they did not initially recognize him. But when they did, it was a wonderful homecoming. The families of over 600,000 men & boys did not get to celebrate their return from the Civil War.
He received $265 for his service & a monthly pension of $4.00 from 11 Aug 1864 & $8.00 from 3 Apr 1884. He used his pay to purchase a farm in Scarborough at Seavey's Landing where he had a ninth child, whose great-great-grandchildren still live in the home.