This letter was written by Acting Orderly Sgt. Spencer Young (1836-1898) of the 8th Maine to Thomas Truxton Kendrick (b. 1803) of Hollis, York County, Maine. Thomas was the father of Pvt. Eben S. Kendrick (1842-1865)—a recent recruit in Co. G, 8th Maine Infantry. The letter pertains to Eben’s wounding, disappearance (and presumed capture) at Fair Oaks, Virginia. Eben was indeed captured and unfortunately died several months later in Salisbury prison in North Carolina.
Spencer W. Young was 25 when he enlisted in August 1862. His residence at the time of enlistment was Crystal Plantation, Aroostook county, Maine. He rose to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant in Co. B of the regiment and also served as adjutant. After the war Spencer moved to the state of Washington and entered the logging business. He died in 1898 as a passenger on the schooner Jane Gray went she went down in a storm ninety miles off Cape Flattery.
[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Richard Weiner and is published by express consent.]
Camp of the 8 Maine Vols.
November 16th 1864
Thomas T. Kendrick
By order of Col. [William M.] McArthur, I have the honor of answering your letter just received. I have made inquiries in regard to your son and found that he belonged to Co. “G.”
The right wing of our regiment were thrown forward as skirmishers and he was in the right wing. The orderly of that company said he was slightly wounded on the right side of the right knee and, as the firing was very close, he told him to crawl to the rear till he got far enough to get up with safety, when he could join our column which was about half a mile in the rear. That was the last that was seen of him by any who knew him and as he did not join the column, the impression is by those who can best judge that he is a prisoner and slightly wounded. His knee was swollen badly and he was quite lame when he was told to go to the rear. Our regiment lost that day four officers and 58 enlisted men killed, wounded and taken prisoners—the most of them prisoners.
Yours respectfully, — Spencer W. Young, Acting Sergt. Major