Blog Posts


Family Issues

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Although Orrin L. Gatchell addressed several familial, social, political and military Civil War issues in his 24 letters written between September, 1862 and April, 1865, his most precious gift to his descendants was to name the family members to whom...

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Posted in: Family Issues
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Orrin L. Gatchell, a private in the 72nd New York Infantry Regiment of the Excelsior Brigade, and his half-brother Calvin Getchell, a private in the 16th Maine Infantry Regiment, fought at the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11 – 15, 1862). However, their lives up to this time, their experiences as volunteers in the Union Army, and their fates in this battle were very different.

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The Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11 – 15, 1862) in the Civil War pitted the stubborn determination of the Union General Ambrose Burnside against the well-entrenched Confederate army commanded by General Robert E. Lee, resulting in the tragic and senseless loss of 1,180 Union soldiers.  One of the Union soldiers slain in this battle was Calvin Getchell, a private in the 16th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment and brother of Orrin L. Gatchell, a private in the 72nd New York Volunteer Infantry of the Excelsior Brigade from Dunkirk, New York. 

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Orrin L. Gatchell, who enlisted in the Excelsior Brigade in Dunkirk, New York in September of 1862 to fight in the Union Army in the Civil War, was carrying on a family history of service to his country and strong family values. His ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Orrin left his wife and four children behind to defend and preserve the Union, fighting in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, among others, and was present at Appomattox at the war’s end.

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