I am very sorry to have so unfavorable a report to give you but the fact is that I have not been able to find one man who comes up to Colonel Berdan’s standard, though there are many who approximate to it and probably would reach it with a few days constant practice under the eye of a competent instructor.
I have not felt at liberty to enlist any who are not now up to the mark and consequently have made no enlistments. There a very few men in this county who own rifles sufficient to shoot with accuracy such a distance, and in that part of Oxford which I have canvassed, I find, to my surprise, scarcely any.
I shall start on Monday on a tour through Androscoggin and Oxford Counties in the hope of finding some suitable persons to recruit, but my present impression is that, unless the other recruiting officers have met with better success that I have, the only way to form such a company will be to select the best shots that can be found and forming a camp of instruction at Augusta, and gradually bring them up to the standard.
Yr’s Resp’y James D. Fessenden
Source: Maine State Archives