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January 29, 2013

Letters to Governor Ramsey from C.W. Griggs and from G. Merrill Dwelle to his sister – January 29, 1863

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 9:00 am

Letter to Governor Ramsey from Colonel C.W. Griggs of the 3rd Minnesota Regiment requesting reassignment for the regiment out of Cairo, Illinois.

Hd Qr 3rd Regt. Minn. Vol.
Cairo Ill. Jan 29th 1863
His Exley. Alex Ramsey
Gov. of the State of Minn.
D-Sir
My command reached this place on the night 26th inst. in good condition, and are now quartered in poor barracks, doing guard and police duty—have been furnished with one hundred second handed Austrian Rifles, by order Gen. Tuttle for guard purposes, as no arms have been sent to this point for us, although the ordnance officer, has some 1500 first class arms on hand, subject to Gen. Grants chief of ordnance orders[.]
The Gen commanding department does not know where we are going, when armed and equipped.
I have telegraphed Hon. H.M. Rice to learn if we were to have first class arms, also asking him to use his influence to have us sent to Rosecrans department, if we were not destined for Vicksburg, and have not received an answer.         I am sorry to trouble you any more on our account, but it is necessary for the interests of the Regt., that we should be immediately armed and sent where can have active service.—If we remain here long, (in this God forsaken hole) undoubtedly one half of our men would be in the hospital and large portion of the balance would desert—the example set by the 128th Ill., which has been stationed here since enlisted were as follows on 26th to wit; twenty four for duty and nearly four hundred absent with-out leave.           Now Gov. under these circumstances we need more of your assistance and if you will telegraph to the Cong. delegation to use their influence in our behalf and also to the Sec. of War, that we be furnished with first class arms and be sent where we can have an opportunity to use them I have no doubt but both would be complied with. our strength at present 323 men and 34 officers for duty. Lt. Taylor will bring at least fifty more hoping you will intercede and that justice will be done us[.]
I remain Gov.
Your Most Obt. Servt. C.W. Griggs
Col. 3rd Minn.


Excerpt of a letter from G. Merrill Dwelle of Lake City, Minnesota, to his sister, Carrie. Dwelle, of the 2nd U. S. Sharpshooters (attached to the 1st Minnesota Infantry Regiment as Company L), was wounded in the right hip at Antietam, taken prisoner, paroled and sent to a hospital in Maryland, where he would remain for nearly six months before returning to Minnesota to take a position as Second Lieutenant with the 3rd Battery, Minnesota Light artillery in March, 1863.

U.S. Hospital Camp “A”
Near Frederick Maryland
Thursday Jan 29th 1863
Sister Carrie
[…]
How our present troubles will terminate is beyond the conjecture of human reason—I believe it would puzzle either Prophet or Seer. There seems to be more traitors north than south[.] Gloomy indeed must be the days and nights of the President. Were I him I would put on Dictatorial powers and the first man that expressed rebellious sympathies I would impress into the army and let them experience a little of the beauties of the doctrin they are so free to to preach. He has been too easy with traitors. A simple arrest and final release is no punishment. It only makes martyrs of them to be worshiped by their friends when they are released[,] when if they were compelled to receive some punishment they would find what a nice thing it is to sleep in the bed of their own making[.] It would either make union men of them or shut their mouths so they would harp no more about the horrors of this war[.]
The war is horrible enough but the soldiers and those that live along the rout experience the worst of it. People at a distance are occasionally reminded of its existence by the death of a friend for whom they mourn for a few days and then forget them[,] but more than that it is but food for their minds in idle moments. I remember before I enlisted how I used to read of battles and skirmishes at different places with as much indifference as I would of the prices current and pass it by as the general news of the day. I did not trouble myself about the headless trunks, broken arms and legs, ghostly wounds, mangled body’s, wreathing in their own blood, and dead that are there. I read as victory or defeat as gain or loss. But the sharp shriek or hoarse moan or even the sight of on that is hit as he clasps his hand to his forehead and falls back to rise no more convinced one of the reality.
[…]
Remember me to all[.] I remain your B
Merrill

*See full transcription for more

See whole scan of letter: 1863-01-29_Dwell_all

See whole transcription: 1863-01-29_Dwelle_full-transcription

Citations:
January 29, 1863, Letter from C.W. Griggs, Letters Received—3rd Regiment. Minnesota: Governor: Ramsey. Records. Minnesota Historical Society. State Archives. Minnesota Historical Society. [111.E.20.4F]

January 29, 1863, Letter from G. Merrill Dwelle to Carrie, Correspondence, 1863. G. Merrill Dwelle papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [A/ .D989]

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