George Dyer, a native of Washington County, was sent to visit towns that were "delinquent" in meeting soldier recruitment quotas and determine the truth of the local selectmen's appeals that they could not meet their quotas.
He set off in November 1862, and by the 5th of December he had seen enough to provide Adjutant General John Hodsdon with this letter.
He wrote that the towns "are scattered about long rocky coves, where they cling to little oases of dirt, like fleas to unscratchable parts of a dog." He described them as "God forsaken towns."
Dyer also noted that the area marked time by the tides, giving as an example that someone died "at about half ebb" or at "dead low water."
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