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Civil War ~ Tid-Bits

A 20thMeCoB Soldier

CW ~ Tid-Bits
A 20thMeCoB Soldier
Abraham Lincoln
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Days In History !
Last Full Measure
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Musket Transport
"My dear Sarah"
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RAYMOND CHARETTE ~ A 20thMeCoB Soldier

Raymond Charette (born 4 May 1840 died 24 Nov 1931), worked like his father, in the woods of St. Francis, Maine from the end of September till the end of April or early May. They lived in camps that were very cold and wet. Their beds were made of wood and covered with cowhide. From the cowhide, small bugs would form, which would get on their skin and in their beards while sleeping. The younger boys, 13-14 years old, would collect firewood for heating and cooking. It was a very hard way of life. After collecting the logs along the St. John River during the winter, the logs would be brought done the river as soon as the ice melted. After the logging was done for the year, they would return home to collect their money. The salary at this time was about $10.00 a month. By the time Jean would return home, after having been for the better part of the year, there was little money left. Angele, his wife, while he was gone, would buy food products, molasses, salt, etc. This would be deducted from the money he was making, so when he arrived home there was about $5.00 left. Since he had not drunk any alcohol while in the woods, this $5.00 would not last very long. He would then head for Winn/Lincoln, Maine area for the rest of the year Maine to harvest tine from the trees. Tine was used to make acid dye, or turpentine.

One day the young RAYMOND, son of JEAN Marie, was approached by a recruiter who offered him $200.00 to join the Army and then after enlisting, he would receive $12.00 a month. This was the best offer he had ever heard from anyone, so without thinking twice he enlisted along with his brother, Theodore. It would take him a whole year to make that kind of money so it was understandable why he enlisted. He said good-bye to his family. He left Ft. Kent with Theodore walking to Caribou, ME in August 1862 and then on to Houlton. In Houlton his brother had second thoughts, and decided that he wasn't going through with it. Theodore ran across to Canada at Skedaddle Ridge, walking along the St. John River at night so he wouldn't be detected until he made it back to Ft. Kent. He got his wife and crossed the St. John River and came to establish himself in St. Francois, NB where they lived.

In Houlton the new recruits were issued a uniform, which looked very much like a prisoner's uniform. The left sleeve and the right pants leg were green. The right sleeve and the left pants leg were yellow. The new recruits then walked to Bangor where they boarded a train to Portland. From there Raymond was enrolled on August 20, 1862 in Company B, 20th Maine Infantry Regiment. The training, normally 6 months long, was cut short because of the great need for soldiers. He reached Virginia at night and fought, under the command of General Pope, in the Second Battle of Bull Run (Aug. 29, 1862) at Manasses, Virginia. Raymond Jean later served under the commands of General Chamberland and General Grant. On the 1st and 2nd April 1865 at 4 o'clock Raymond Jean Charette was wounded in the right arm. The bullet hit his rifle, slanted off and entered at the elbow of his right arm while in battle at Hatcher's run at Five Forks, Virginia.

During the surrender of General Lee on April 9 1865, Raymond was standing underneath an apple tree, which was later cut into small pieces for souvenirs. He was taken, later that day, to Washington, DC for his wounds. During his time in the war, he was also treated for diarrhea, which was one of the big killers during the war. More soldiers died from diarrhea or other sicknesses than bullets. While he was in Washington D. C. John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln on April 14 and he died the next day on April 15, 1865. All the soldiers in the area, including our great-grandfather Raymond Charette, with his bandaged arm, were selected to walk in President Lincoln's funeral procession. As each soldier passed the casket, a tiny bow of crepe was pinned on his uniform.

On 27 Jun 1865 Raymond Jean Charette received his discharge.

From: Gil Charettes Genealogy Page Volume 1, 26 Feb 1999

 

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