During the spring and summer of 1862 the war fever was running very high. Great excitement prevailed. Darkness and gloom seemed to cover the country. Men were urged to enlist, go to the war, and help save the country. It was preached from the pulpits, printed by the press, talked about at great war meetings that were held by day and nights. Business at times was suspended. Drums and fifes were heard continuously being paraded through the streets and followed by men and boys. Churches were open in country towns, giving men an opportunity to enlist.
Mr. Isaac H. Bromley, City Editor of the Norwich Morning Bulletin, at a great war meeting held at Breed’s Hall, had enlisted to go to the war. He came out with a card in the Bulletin asking one hundred young men to go with him and organize a company for the 18th Regiment that was forming at the time.
On the evening of August 6th, 1862, I visited the recruiting office with my mind fully made up to enlist for the war and go in Bromley’s company.
On the 12th the members were requested to meet at the recruiting office at 1 P. M. to form company and march to the fair grounds where camp had been located. Distance about two miles. At 2 P. M. with drum and fife we began our march to the camp. Cheers greeted us all along the line of march.
The camp was known as Camp Aiken, so named in honor of General Aiken, son-in-law of Connecticut’s war Governor, William A. Buckingham. At camp we were assigned two rows of tents, mattresses and army blankets included. After the medical examination, uniforms were given to us. Then began the life of a real soldier, learning how to march and drill and also doing guard duty.
A meeting of the company was called to elect officers. Isaac H. Bromley was elected Captain, Samuel T. C. Merwin, a lawyer, ist Lieutenant, Henry F. Cowles, 2nd Lieutenant. In due time we were selected as color company, also known as Company C. It was considered a very great honor to be the color company of a regiment. With cheers and congratulations we pledged ourselves to be true and to carry the flags with honor. We are now getting the new experience of a soldier’s life in camp.