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1863 March 8: Lieut. Col. William R. Marshall on Wyman Folsom and William H. Burt of the 7th Minnesota

March 8, 2013

The following letter from William R. Marshall to W. H. C. Folsom discusses Folsom’s son, Wyman, and his captain, William Henry Burt.  Burt and  Wyman X. Folsom served in Company C of the 7th Minnesota Infantry.  Marshall was from St. Paul, Minnesota, and was been the lieutenant colonel of the 7th Minnesota; he will be promoted to colonel on November 6, 1863.

The original letter is in the W. H. C. Folsom Papers (River Falls Mss S), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

[Folsom’s filing notation]: Lieut. Col. Marshall Letter, March 1863

Mankato [Minn.]   March 8, 1863

W. H. C. Folsom
.   .   .   .   ..Taylors Falls
.   .   .   .    .   .   .   . Dear Sir :
.   .   .   .   .     .   .   .   . . . . . . .  Your letter of Feb’y 10th was duly rec’d here.  I have just returned from St. Paul where I had been since the 9th of Feb’y.

I can assure you that your requests in regard to your son meet a hearty response in my own feelings.  As soon as I learned he was in Capt. Burt’s Co., I enquired for him and got personally acquainted with him.  I immediately thought of some way to advance him.  The only thing that offered at that time was a clerkship at headquarters.  I had him leave a specimen of his penmanship, but it was not sufficiently good to secure him the place.

Whenever there is any opening to which he can be consistently advanced you may rest assured he will be.  I shall keep watch of him and see that he does not suffer any avoidable hardship, and if he should be sick or get wounded, that he gets the best possible care.

Our excellent 1st assistant surgeon Dr. Smith,¹ whom you know, feels a special interest in Company C., so many of the men being his old neighbors.

You are doubtless aware that there has been dissatisfaction among the men of Co. C. with their captain.  It has some foundation no doubt yet if you knew how energetic and capable an officer Capt. Burt is – how faithfully he sees that everything necessary is provided for his company – how well drilled it is and near and soldierly in its appearance and if you could contrast him with some careless, negligent, incompetent officers that are in the service – the dirty, disorderly appearance of their men, ill provided for generally – you would give the preference very decidedly to Capt. B.  He is strict and sometimes tyrannical – rarely unjust.  It is more in his manner than anything else.  Col. Miller² has twice talked to him, and enjoined kind treatment and consideration towards his men.  He will be constantly watched.

Very truly      Your friend     Wm. R. Marshall

1.  Lucius B. Smith (1824-1864) was the first doctor to practice in Taylors Falls, Minnesota, after he moved there from Ohio. He was killed July 13, 1864, the day preceding the Battle of Tupelo. His division was ambushed. He was buried in Tupelo, but his remains were later removed to Kahbakong Cemetery in Taylors Falls.
2.  Stephen Miller (1816-1881) was middle-aged when he joined the 1st Minnesota Infantry as a private. He quickly advanced to colonel of the regiment. In 1862 Miller returned from the War and replaced General Henry Hastings Sibley as commander of Camp Lincoln, where 303 Dakota men who had been convicted of participating in the Dakota War of 1862 were being held. By order of President Lincoln, Miller supervised the mass execution of 38 of those Dakota men condemned for their part in the war. In the fall of 1863, with the support of former Governor Alexander Ramsey and on the strength of his military career, Miller was elected the 4th governor of Minnesota. He served from 1864 to 1866. The one-time war hero and popular governor died an impoverished widower, in Worthington, Minnesota, in 1881.

William R. Marshall letter of March 8, 1863, from the W. H. C. Folsom Papers (River Falls Mss S) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

William R. Marshall letter of March 8, 1863, from the W. H. C. Folsom Papers (River Falls Mss S) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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