Captain Charles "Eugene" Merrick
Captain Charles "Eugene" Merrick the youngest surviving veteran of the Civil War was born in Kendall County.
Mr. R. T. Vilven of Los Angeles, California sent the Kendall County Record a copy of the Daily Times of his city, which contained a sketch (with picture) of a man well known in Kendall County. The following is the account. Published in the Kendall County Record September 16, 1903.
The youngest surviving veteran of the Civil War and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic dropped into Los Angeles yesterday afternoon from San Francisco. He was following the homing flight of his comrades from the field of the last national encampment.
His is Captain Eugene Merrick, sergeant major of Farragut Post G.A.R. of Chicago, who enlisted in Company C. 147th Illinois Infantry, February 1, 1865 at the age of twelve years. Looking at him today one would scarcely believe that the "Kid", as he is known among his Chicago circle of comrades, is entitled to the significant little veteran's button. Despite his youthful appearance the noble insignia appears on his lapel.
At the time of his enlistment, the boy Merrick lived near Yorkville, Kendall County, Illinois. He caught the war fever from his two brothers, who had entered the service. He boldly presented himself before a mustering officer. He was immediately "turned down" on account of his tender years. After five unsuccessful attempts to get into the army blue near his hometown, he made his way to Chicago. At Camp Fry, he found an old friend of the family, Captain Frank Buys of the 147th Illinois, who got him into the service. After carrying a musket for two weeks his captain, fearing a reprimand from higher sources because of the youth of his recruit, made him a drummer boy. In this capacity he went into the Georgia campaign.
War in no way dampened the spirit of the drummer boy veteran. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898 he enlisted for the fray, becoming captain of a company of the Blue and Gray Regiment of Chicago, which, unfortunately got no farther than Key West, Florida.
Captain Merrick is presently with the Smalley Manufacturing Company of Chicago. He is out on the pacific coast for the first time, as he expresses it "prospecting."
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