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Not-so-good old days
Continuing with our look back at the days leading up to the Civil War, as reported by the Oxford Democrat (the Norway Advertiser didn't exist yet), we see in the May 3, 1861, issue of the paper that our local "boys," Company G had been, as we'd say today, "mobilized."
The First Installment
An immense crowd gathered at the station, On Saturday, to bid God speed to the first company called from Oxford County, to the defense of the government. A little past eleven the procession came in, headed by the noble-hearted women of Norway, who led forth their friends to do battle for the right. The ladies took position on the platform, while the company formed by the flagstaff, and raised to its position the National Flag now waving near the Depot, midst the most hearty cheers, and the firing of salutes. The company then partook of a collation, were made recipients of various sums contributed for their comfort, received the pressure of hundreds of friendly hands, with parting words innumerable, and they were away.
There were aching hearts, and tears and sobbing, but they were checked in that noble heroism that gives all for country. A clergyman present declared “It seemed the most glorious day the sun ever shone upon.
From the perspective of the troops, with the same issue came the first report from the “front,” well, from their first duty station — Portland:
Head Quarters, Company G
Portland, April 30, 1861
Mr. Editor — Our company is now quartered in Brown’s Block, Union Street. The men are in good spirits, and anxious to move on to their destination. We shall not soon forget the leave taking from our friends at Norway and South Paris, last Saturday, and if a shade of sadness appeared mingled with the enthusiasm of that occasion, it was dispelled as soon as the train swept us past the sea of upturned faces, and the last “God speed was pronounced by those left behind. At the Depot in this city we found friends in waiting, (former residents of Norway,) when we were escorted to the residence of J. G. Ordway, Esq., where we were addressed briefly but eloquently by Hon. M. H. Dunnell, and were served with a collation by Mr. O., after which C. P. Kimball addressed the company at some length. From thence we proceeded to our quarters. On Sunday, the different companies comprising the 1st Regiment, attended church. We, by kindness of friends above mentioned, were escorted by the Portland Band to the New City Hall, in the afternoon, where we listened to a most eloquently and appropriate sermon from Rev. Mr. Bolles of the 1st Universalist Church in this city. The sermon was extempore, and of course turned upon National questions. Mr. Bolles has spent the most of his life in the South, and his allusion to his former associations, and tender memories of Southern people were most eloquent and touching. He observed that he still loved the South, but it was the South which sustained and cherished this great free government, and ensured the perpetuation of its blessings, and not the South of the “Palmetto” and the “Rattlesnake,” that he loved. A parishioner of his informed me that he had formerly been on terms of intimacy and special friendship with General Beauregard of South Carolina.
The 1st Regiment is now completed and on duty. It was mustered into the service of the State by Major Gen. Virgin. Every company contains the full quota of men. They will probably be mustered into United States service on Saturday next, by Major Gardiner. The Regimental uniform arrived from Boston last night, and to-day the companies are receiving them.
The commissioned officers of the Regiment met on Sunday eve. pursuant to call of Maj. Gen. Virgin, for the election of Col. Lieut. Col. and Major, which resulted in the election of Capt. Jackson of the Lewiston Light Infantry for Col., Capt. Witham of the Portland Light Infantry Lieut. Col., G. W. Bailey Major.
Portland is alive with enthusiasm and there is not a moment that the drum and fife may not be heard in some direction, as the several companies are moving. No sickness has yet occurred in our corps.
Little did they know what lay ahead.
As is our custom, we try to exactly reproduce the grammar, spelling, punctuation and style of the original. Commas might appear where least expected and remain absent where we’d expect them if the item was written nowadays. On the other hand, consistency was not considered of utmost importance, so variations of a spelling might appear within one story. In addition, some words were abbreviated differently than today.
Where brief explanations of terms are considered necessary, they are presented in brackets  within the quote. Otherwise, explanations appear at the beginning or at the conclusion, without quotes. Parenthesis () used in a quoted passage appeared in the original.