Corporal Chapin W. Merrick, Co. G

MERICK, CHAPIN W.-Age, 25 years. Enlisted, September 20, 1861, at Cortland, to serve three years; mustered in as private, Co. G, October 5, 1861; captured in action, August 30, 1862, at Gainesville, Va.; exchanged, November 1, 1862; killed in action, July 1, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa.

The Cortland Historical Society has a number of letters from Chapin Merrick, which are excerpted here:

May,1863: "I have been rather negligent about writing but I cant help it now...We received our pay last week Thursday and Friday, 26 dollars each time and I am going to send $40 by AP Smith QR (quartermaster) this week and Bertram sends the same. Toot sends $20 making in all $100. Toot has gone away and has not given me any directions who he intends his money for please keep it until I write again."

From Camp near Washington: "Since I left Cortland we go on guard by companies which makes us on duty once in ten days. Rufus says dinner is reddy and I will stop. I have ate my dinner and now I will drive on. We had pork potatoes and rice some coffee to. I like to have forgotten that I must let you what we draw for eatables bread, meat, potatoes, rice, coffee, beans, sugar, molasses. That is all I guess. We do our own cooking. Rufus is cook we have a little stove which we bought for 2 dollars our cooking utencils are camp-pan frying pan and teaketle. dont you think they are extensive."

"...We received the box of provision in due time and have some glorious meals..."

Near Fredericksburg, Virginia: "You wanted to know what grows here. There is not a great deal. Anyway we have some green applesauce once in a while. Had some to day noon. There is occasionally a patch of potatoes and some corn but it is rather small. Black berries are getting ripe here and we have some. They make me think of home. The wheat crop is harvested and stacked in the field. We are not drawing very big rations now days. No more soft bread. all McLellan pies. Coffee tea salt pork. Once in a while some dried apples. Beans. Bean soup by the pail full. I like it first rate with the pies."

"We have had some stormy weather lately. It commenced snowing last Monday noon and continued until the next morning and then it commenced raining. It rained and snowed some two or three days. One morning the snow was some four inches deep. Since then the weather has been very warn. Some of the boys went out on drill without their coats and got sent back."

"Guess I might as well tell you what we had to carry. First comes cartridge box containing forty rounds of cartridges. Next comes belt and saber. Next haversack containing three days rations. Mine had some of the eatables you sent us. Next canteen filled with water then knapsack containing overcoat. blanket, shirts and lots of other indespensables. 'Shoulder Arms' and you are ready for a march."  

Chapin Merrick's Obituary

From the Cortland Gazette, July 27, 1863

Chapin W. Merrick was born in Virgil May 1836 and died July 1, 1863, being 27 years of age. When about 3 years old he came to reside in Cortland, and has grown to manhood in our midst. Nothing occurred during the years of his minority more than what is common under similar circumstances.

Some two years since, in answer to the call of his country, he volunteered in the 76th Regiment, under Capt. Sager. He continued with the regiment during all its dark days and stormy skies. up to the second Bull Run fight under Gen. Pope, where he was taken prisoner, paroled, and sent to Camp Chase, Ohio. In October last, he came home, greeted his old friends, recuperated his wasted physical energies, and in the last of November, returned to his post of duty. At the Battle of Fredricksburg, under Burnside, he drove an ambulance. At the second Battle of Fredericksburg he was in the ranks of the 76th, but received no injury. Then came the long and tedious march to Gettysburg, which he endured with much fortitude and hope. On the First of July, about 10 o'clock, a.m., he fell by a shot in the head. and never moved after. On Thursday evening he was laid in his soldier's grave, by his comrades in arms, close by the side of the noble Frank Gay, of Taylor. In their lives they were united, and in death not divided.

As a son, he was obedient and faithful to the interests committed to his care. As a brother, he was kind and tenderhearted, forming a precious link in the family circle. As a soldier, his virtues show more resplendent still. His Captain says, that in all the disturbances that occurred in the regiment, he was ever found on the side of good order and discipline, and free from the vices incident to the soldier's life.

Though his death is only one among many thousands of noble young men who have fallen in the defense of right, yet it is never the less a most painful loss! The family, though proud of having a son and a brother to consecrate on the altar of freedom are crushed to dust under the heavy blow. But his memory and virtues will be cherished with grateful emotions by those with whom his youth passed so pleasantly away, and especially by one whose blissful hopes of the future were forever blighted when he fell in death! The cup of freedom, however, will be all the sweeter for these costly sacrifices, as in the future, as we pass it to our lips.

Chapin's last name is spelled with 2 R's (Merrick) according to the 1860 census for Cortland County. He was a corporal when he was killed at Gettysburg. I am eager to find out more about him and his family. I believe his father was Miner Merrick born in 1806. His siblings were a brother Miner,Jr., about 1832 and a sister Betsy born about 1834 (but see note, below).

(personal communication from Wayne Merrick of Poughkeepsie, NY, a second cousin four times removed.  e-mail address appears to be outdated)

Merrick is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Blodgett's Mills, Cortland County, NY 

(Personal communication from Vicki Titus

My name is Kelly Knapp and I am originally from Cortland, NY, although I currently live in Liverpool, NY. Chapin Merrick is my 3rd great-granduncle. His sister, Mary Licette Merrick is my great-great-great grandmother. I am in possession of our family notes handed down over the generations and can tell you a few things.  

From notes taken out of our family bible, which I am not currently in possession of (I believe one of my grandmother's brothers has it at the moment): 

Chapin Wait Merrick was born May 29, 1836, and died July 1, 1863. His parents were Miner Merrick (born April 6, 1802, Monson, MA) and Betsey Chapin (born February 5, 1804, West Winfield, Herkimer county, NY). They were married February 3, 1825 in West Winfield, Herkimer county, NY. 

In addition to Chapin, their other children were: Mary Licette (or Lycetta, I am unsure as it is spelled both ways by the family over the years (my 3rd great grandmother)), born Sept. 30, 1827; Miner Jr., born Nov. 29, 1832; and Harmina B., born January 7, 1840.

I want specifically to correct the posting that Chapin's sister was Betsy, as it was really his mother who is named Betsy. If he did have a sister named Betsy it is not in the family Bible or our other notes, so I believe this to be a mistake, though I am not positive.

(Personal communication from Kelly Knapp [])

Return to Images of the 76th NY

Return to 76th Roster (M)

Return to Letters from the 76th NY

Return to 76th NYSV Homepage

- Last Updated January 2, 2005