“MERRILL’S HORSE” - COMMISSION FOR CORPORAL “JNO. SEBASTIAN MERRILL”

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Item Code: 1069-04

Issued by “The Commanding Officer of the Veteran Regiment of Merrill’s Horse,” assigning Corporal J.S. Merrill to “the staff” of the “Veteran” regiment of “Merrill’s Horse.” Dated 8/16/1865, at the regimental headquarters in Chattanooga, TN, signed by “Lewis Merrill, Col.”. Pre-printed form, 10 x 15”. Exhibits fold-marks and light yellowing. Else VG, and entirely legible.

“Merrill’s Horse” was officially the 2nd Missouri Cavalry, formed in August 1861, commanded by former Captain Lewis Merrill of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, under General Fremont, who nicknamed it “Merrill’s Horse.” This unit served exclusively in Missouri, and spent most of the war combating vicious guerrilla bands that infested the state. Near the end—in Feb. 1865--it was transferred Chattanooga to combat guerrilla activities in Georgia and Alabama. And, given the continuing guerrilla turmoil in summer of 1865, it seems likely that continuing services of the “Merrill’s Horse” were deemed necessary, and that in August the unit was tentatively re-designated as a “Veteran” regiment—Or at least until September 19, 1865, when “Merrill’s Horse” (2nd Missouri Cavalry) was officially and finally disbanded. There is no official 2nd Missouri record of a Corporal “John Sebastian Merrill.” Quite likely he was a young relative of Colonel Merrill’s, assigned to his staff in the slack final weeks.

A fascinating piece for Missouri CW aficionados. The anti-guerrilla activities of the Union 2nd Missouri Cavalry are indeed interesting. Invites further research. In protective sleeve.  [JP]

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