NOVEMBER 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 in 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 killed and 343 by disease for a total of 348.

Isaac Dyer was a well educated, highly articulate correspondent and a shrewd observer of men and events. In this letter—[Dated “Brazos Island Texas / Nov. 5 1863—1 page in ink on lined paper, 9.75 x 7.75—Exhibits fold marks, else VG]—Dyer writes his wife of his regiment’s arrival in Texas. Text as follows:

“Well I am safe on this Island. Had a rough passage here but all arrived safely. We are to go from here to Brownsville in about five days. It will be a pleasant trip and not very dangerous.

I guess you shall get along well. I wish you to keep the very best of courage. This is a barren island about 8 miles long an one mile wide. It extends from the mouth of the rio Grande north. Brownsville is up the Rio Grand 20 or 30 miles. Matamoros is opposite Brownsville in Mexico. This part of Texas is rather barren but the soil is good the interior. My regards to all my friends. Love to you and Albert. In Haste / Isaac.

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

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