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April 28, 2013

Letter from G. Merrill Dwelle, at Fort Snelling to sister Carrie Dwelle in Lake City, MN, describing recent matters at Fort Snelling – April 28, 1863

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

Fort Snelling Apr 28th 1863.
Sister Carrie
No, I did not know I was to leave so soon when I went away out to Alberts but feared by the tone of the letter I received from Cap Jones that such would be the case.  Was somewhat disappointed when the order came, but our accommodating Postmaster E. Porter he having retained the order in the Office for a day to enjoy the pleasure of handing it to me himself that he might know the contents thereof.  Strange being that Porter!  I might just as well stayed at home another week as not and had I known just how things were I would have been tempted to done it.  When I arrived here there was only seventeen men and two of us to drill them and Lieut Whipple being the ranking officer the duty devolved upon him. He has a slight advantage of me[,] he having been in the regular service for seven years and most of that time in the artillery and so you see I will have some studying to do to keep pace with him but am bound to do it.  One day he went to Saint Paul and I had to take charge of the detachment. I came well nigh despairing the night he told me he was going and half felt as if I was sorry that I had a commission but sat up that night and poured over the tactics and after he went away took charge of the men and did a good thing at drilling them[.] After that I took courage and I verily believe that his going away that day was the making of me for had I waited until the Captain returned knowing as I did he was a well drilled man I should have been so embarrassed that I fear I should have failed but now as far as I know I do very well allowing me to tell it[.] The Battery is filling up very fast now, there being about a hundred men at the present time.  We muster tomorrow. the[n] I shall be a soldier again for three year or during the war.  It will hardly be possible for me to return home again before leaving here as the men are coming in so fast[,] we must necessarily stay here and give them the little instructions we can as the time is so short before the expedition will start out.  Whipple and I put them (the men) through about seven hours a day and we are both so hoarse at night we can hardly speak from talking so much.  When I left home I did not bring my discharge papers with me and it may be necessary for me to have them[,] will you send them to me. You will find them in my trunk in the end nearest to the stairs in a bundle of other papers[.] I think it is in the middle of the package.  Henry will know what it is.  By the way will you see that my trunk is locked[,] all my papers secured before you go away – take the key with you or give it to father.  I wrote to Thomas the other day for a Rubber blanket and also sent word to Henry if he wished to sell his Revolver to send it along.  If they have not send them if they conclude to do so perhaps they had best send by Express as it would be much safer.  I would like to go down to St. Paul but can hardly spare the time[.] Sargeant Underwood whom you have heard me speak of is there and I would like to see him very much feel that I cannot leave long enough.  A man by the name of Cutter from Wabashaw called to see me to day.  He belongs to the Sharpshooters and is nearly blind when I saw him last at Antietam[.]  he was well today[,] I hardly knew him[,] in fact did not until he told me his name[.]  He is trying to get his discharge and is worthy of it if I am any judge of his case[.]
Write me soon and send the paper I require[.] I left a few stamps and some paper in my or your Portfolio[.] use them, as I have plenty here.  If you want it tale it with you to keep your paper in but I would like to keep it as it seems like an old familiar friend having accompanied me through the Peninsula campaign[,] but would not bring it with me on this trip for fear of loosing it. I heard that Mr Ottman was in St. Paul[.]  Remember me to Mrs. O
Regards to all
Truly your Brother

PS  If you do not have time to write immediately send the description list without writing[.]

See whole letter here: 1863-04-28_Dwelle_combined

Citation:  April 28, 1863, Letter from G. Merrill Dwelle to Carrie, Correspondence, 1863. G. Merrill Dwelle papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [A/ .D989]

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