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Letter from private seeking commission, New Orleans, 1861

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Pvt. Charles L. Billings of Co. G, 12th Regiment Maine Volunteers, who was 20 when he enlisted in November 1861, wrote to Col. George F. Shepley, commander of the 3rd Brigade and military governor of Louisiana, seeking help in getting a commission.

Billings, of Waterford, wrote that he was "striving to get an education which would fit me for some sphere of usefulness in society" when he enlisted, but had limited means and therefore was unable to advance much. He told Shepley he felt qualified for a commission or some position that would help him advance.

He wrote, "could I not serve my country as well and do much better for myself if I had a chance?"

He wrote to Shepley because he had enlisted in Shepley's regiment, the 12th Maine.


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