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George F. Shepley on plans for 12th Maine, 1861

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Col. George F. Shepley, a Portland lawyer, wrote to Maine Gov. Israel Washburn to report that he expected the new 12th Maine Regiment to be filled soon "with the very best men in the State."

Shepley also reported, "I have abandoned every other thought and pursuit, and have embarked in this movement all my hopes energies and efforts and, if need be my fortune and my life."

Shepley received a commission and permission to form the regiment in conjunction with Massachusetts resident Gen. Benjamin F. Butler's desire to have Democrats named as commanders of regiments. Shepley told Washburn he hoped the federal mandate for the regiment did not diminish the pride Maine would feel in it.

Shepley, a Democrat, became military governor of Louisiana in 1862, shortly after Union forces captured New Orleans, where the 12th and other Maine regiments were serving.

The letter is a copy Shepley kept of the one he sent to Washburn.


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