John French letter on enlistment, 1861

Contributed by Fifth Maine Regiment Museum


John French of Albion, wrote to his family on April 30, 1861, informing them of his enlistment in the Union Army. The letter was postmarked May 7, 1861.

John French, a native of Albion, was 20 years old when he enlisted in Co. B of the 5th Maine Infantry Regiment as a private.

In this letter he informs his parents and siblings of his decision, writing "Perhaps you will condemn my actions, but I feel that I am but doing my duty to my country. I have enlisted and when you get this letter I shall probaly be in Fort Preble at Portland."

French was promoted to 2nd lieutenant in June 1863. His family never saw him again, as John French was killed in action at Rappahannock Station, Virginia, on November 7, 1863.

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About This Item

  • Title: John French letter on enlistment, 1861
  • Creator: John French
  • Creation Date: 1861-04-30
  • Subject Date: 1861-04-30
  • Locations:
    • Portland, Cumberland County, ME
    • Albion, Kennebec County, ME
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Fifth Maine Regiment Museum
45 Seashore Avenue, PO Box 41, Peaks Island, ME 04108
(207) 766-3330

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