Even though the Sanitary Commission and similar soldier aid groups often handled requests for furloughs and other issues related to injured, ill, or needy soldiers, Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley received many similar requests -- especially from soldiers in the 12th Maine Infantry that he had commanded, and from soldiers in other Maine regiments stationed in Louisiana.
In addition, soldiers and their families wrote to Shepley with other types of requests as well.
Here, Pvt. Charles Billings of the 12th Maine asked Shepley for help in getting a commission that would help him advance.
Billings, of Waterford, wrote, "could I not serve my country as well and do much better for myself if I had a chance?
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