OCTOBER 1863 UNION SOLDIER LETTER—BREVET BRIGADIER GENERAL ISAAC DYER, 15TH MAINE INFANTRY

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The letter below is one of a series of 27 letters written by Colonel Dyer to his wife Lydia between August 31, 1862 and August 11, 1865.

A resident of Skowegan, ME, 42 year-old Captain Isaac Dyer was placed in command of the 15th Maine in August 1862 and received his appointment to replace Colonel Worder in September--his appointment to Lt. Colonel (and eventually Colonel) being made official, Dec. 12, 1862. He then commanded the unit through the remainder of the war, and received a Brigadier’s Brevet for meritorious service, March 13, 1865. Resigning from service, Sept. 13, 1865, he returned to Skowegan, lived to age 92 and was buried there in 1913. His 15th Maine served Louisiana & Florida, participating in the 1864 Red River Campaign, and later in Virginia and was present at the Bermuda Hundred. During service it lost 5 men killed and 343 by disease for a total of 348.

Isaac Dyer was a well-educated, highly articulate correspondent and a a shrewd observed of men and events. In this letter—[Dated “New Orleans Oct. 16th 1863”—3 pp. in ink on lined paper, 9.75 x 7.75”—exhibiting fold-marks, else VG.]—Dyer writes of army affairs, and his faith in the Union cause and of the state of morale in the 15th Maine. Excerpts as follow:

“Business improving daily. Everything looks encouraging in this department, and in fact matters are improving throughout the country. Rosecrans is still holding Chattanooga which is going to effect rebeldom severely. I think I should prefer stock in the old John Brown’s underground R. Road to the so called Confederate Bonds.

O that wisdom may be given our Generals that they may be guided aright at this stage of the rebellion. Much blood may yet be shed but I think one thing is pretty well established, and that is, we have a government, which is destined to attract the attention of the world. England & France much against this will probably have to acknowledge that the United State s of America is something of a Nation and worthy of notice…

I pray that we may yet be prosperous. That men may learn to know and fear Him who overrules all events. How puny is the position of man to the power of omnipotence. With his aid the best concerted schemes are vain and never can succeed…

I expect Bro. Weatherbee will be somewhat disappointed in the appearance of things but I hope not. After a regiment has been in the service two years it is somewhat questionable whether or not their morals have not depreciated.

Profanity and its kindred vices creep in rapidly among men who are separated from female influence of the higher order. Many man will say and do things they would have scorned to say and do when they left home.

But I would not have you suppose this is general for we have many fine examples of a high order of morality and Christian virtue amongst soldiers. Had we had the right kind of a chaplain at the commencement I think a different state of things would have existed at the present time in the 15th ME Vols….

So keep up the best of courage…”

Fine collectible. Excellent letter home from the admirable Colonel of the 15th Maine.  In protective sleeve.   [JP] [ph:L]

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