C.A. Garcelon to aunt, Maryland, 1862Item 66037 info
Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library
Charles Augustus Garcelon was three months shy of his 20th birthday when he enlisted as a 2nd lieutenant in Co. I of the 16th Maine Infantry Regiment on August 14, 1862.
Like a number of young men who heeded Lincoln's call for soldiers to stop the Southern rebellion, Garcelon enlisted with others he knew -- the company having been formed in his hometown of Lewiston.
Also like some others, Garcelon enlisted with an older relative. He and his maternal uncle, William Waldron, formed the regiment.
In the earliest surviving letter after the 16th Maine reached Maryland, Garcelon wrote to Waldron's wife, Jane, on Sept. 13, 1863, reporting that he and William Waldron were in good health.
He also was impressed with the size of the Union army that he saw on the roads around Washington, D.C.
The prospect of battle was not far from his mind. He told his Aunt Jane: "I must tell you how I feel in respect to going into battle. I feel as though I should stand my ground and I feel as though it will be my luck to lose either a leg or an arm."
Garcelon's father, a physician and Maine's Surgeon General during the war, had been in the area, no doubt visiting surgeons in various Maine regiments.
Charles Garcelon was hopeful that, if he were injured in a battle, his father would be nearby to tend to his wounds.