Herman Alricks letters 1838-1839
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 6 letters that Private Melvin W. Drake wrote to his sister, Mary A. Daniels, while serving in Company C of the 23rd Michigan Infantry Regiment between 1862 and 1865. Drake composed his first 2 letters while in camp at Bowling Green, Kentucky, and described camp life, which included serving on picket duty and digging trenches; he also noted an unsuccessful attempt to catch a rebel cavalry unit (January 31, 1863). He also reported that the 111th Ohio Infantry Regiment had mistakenly fired a cannonball into his company's campsite during artillery practice, and the ball tore through a soldier's tent (January 31, 1863). Drake occasionally mentioned taking part in battle, and related his experience at the Siege of Knoxville, during which he spent three hours on the battlefield and sustained a slight wound in his right hand, though he hadn't fired a shot (December 24, 1863). On October 27, 1864, he wrote that he had seen many skirmishes, and that they had become somewhat routine. His final letter contrasts Democratic and Republican approaches to campaigning amongst the troops, and he reported that he had voted despite the fact that he would not turn 21 until February 1865 (January 9, 1865).

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