Frank Dow Merrill Papers, 1941-1948

Collection number: MC 109
Size: 3 boxes (1.00 cu.ft.)

About the Frank Dow Merrill (1903-1955)

Frank Dow Merrill was born on December 4, 1903. He enlisted in the Regular Army in 1922 and graduated from West Point in 1929. He obtained his B.S. degree in military engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1938, Merrill studied Japanese and Chinese while working as the assistant military attaché at the United States Embassy in Tokyo. By October 1941 he was promoted to major (temporarily) and assigned to Manila as General Douglas MacArthur’s intelligence officer. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Merrill was in Rangoon, Burma on a flying mission for MacArthur. He remained there to become Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell’s aid in the China-Burma-India Theater.

In the Spring of 1942 Merrill was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In July he was awarded the Order of the Purple Heart for his meritorious actions in Burma between March and May 1942. In October 1943 Merrill prepared a long-range penetration group of about 3000 U.S. infantrymen, for a hazardous mission in Burma. After intensive training in jungle warfare, Merrill’s Marauders (sometimes called Merrill’s Raiders), became the first American infantrymen to fight on the Asiatic mainland. Merrill’s Marauders, prepared by the Historical Division of the War Department, recounts the activities of this courageous group from February to May in 1944. In March 1944, after a 100-mile march, they surprised the enemy by blocking the only Japanese supply line in the Hukawng Valley.

In September of 1944, Merrill was promoted to major general. Towards the end of his active military career, he suffered from heart problems, as a result of which he was relieved of his command. In 1945 he served as General Stilwell’s Chief of Staff and later as commander of the Sixth Army at San Francisco.

After retirement from the Army, Merrill moved back to New Hampshire with his wife and two sons to become New Hampshire’s Highway Commissioner. He died December 12, 1955 of a heart attack after attending a meeting of the American Association of State Highway Officials in New Orleans, where he had just been elected president of that organization.

About the Frank Dow Merrill Collection

The Frank Dow Merrill collection primarily contains Merrill’s letters to his wife and two sons in North Woodstock N.H., while he was stationed in Burma between 1943 and 1948. There are gaps because of military activities and illnesses, but overall the correspondence is consistent. In these letters Merrill discusses in general terms his location and duties in Burma and tries to keep informed on situations at home. The remaining folders contain military operation summaries, Allied Commanders Despatches, military distribution lists, empty envelopes from Burma. These provide information on daily, weekly, and monthly activities of the Land, Sea, and Air Operation in South East Asia between June 1944 and May 1945 and discuss the preparations for the 1944 campaigns in South East Asia between August 1943 and May 1945.

Over 100 of Merrill’s maps of the East Indies, Asia, and Australia, dating from 1921 to 1950, were added to the collection in February, 2000 and are housed in the Government Information Map Room.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open.

Copyright Notice

Contents of this collection are governed by U.S. copyright law. For questions about publication or reproduction rights, contact Special Collections staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], [Folder number], [Box number], Frank Dow Merrill Papers, 1941-1948, MC 109, Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham, NH, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Donation: Mrs. Lucy Merrill, November 19, 1990; maps transferred from University of New Hampshire Government Documents, February 2000 (Accession numbers: 920, 2000.8)

Collection Contents

Series 1: Correspondence

Box 1
Box 1, Folder 1March-May 1941
Box 1, Folder 2June 1941
Box 1, Folder 3July-August 1941
Box 1, Folder 4September-November 1941
Box 1, Folder 5February-April 1942
Box 1, Folder 6June-July 1942
Box 1, Folder 7August-September 1942
Box 1, Folder 8October-December 1942
Box 1, Folder 91943
Box 1, Folder 10January-June 1944
Box 1, Folder 11July-September 23, 1944
Box 1, Folder 12September 29-November 15, 1944
Box 1, Folder 13November 17-November 26, 1944
Box 1, Folder 14November 29-December 14, 1944
Box 1, Folder 15December 16-December 25, 1944
Box 1, Folder 16January 3-January 13, 1945
Box 1, Folder 17January 19-January 27, 1945
Box 1, Folder 18February 14-February 18, 1945
Box 1, Folder 19March 12-April 14, 1945
Box 1, Folder 20April 25-May 22, 1945
Box 1, Folder 21June 9-June 21, 1945
Box 1, Folder 22June 29-June 30, 1945
Box 1, Folder 23July 7-July 12, 1945
Box 1, Folder 24July 17-July 27, 1945
Box 1, Folder 25July 31-August 6, 1945
Box 1, Folder 26August 10-August 18, 1945
Box 1, Folder 27August 21-August 22, 1945
Box 1, Folder 28August 23-August 30, 1945
Box 2
Box 2, Folder 1September 4-September 15, 1945
Box 2, Folder 2September 16-October 4, 1945
Box 2, Folder 3October 9-October 14, 1945
Box 2, Folder 4July 1-July 3, 1947
Box 2, Folder 5November 10-November 24, 1947
Box 2, Folder 6December 1-Decemeber 20, 1947
Box 2, Folder 7December 22-Decemeber 29, 1947
Box 2, Folder 8January 1-April 1948
Box 2, Folder 9April 8-May 18, 1948
Box 2, Folder 10May 18-May 24, 1948
Box 2, Folder 11Envelopes, 1 of 3
Box 2, Folder 12Envelopes, 2 of 3
Box 2, Folder 13Envelopes, 3 of 3
Box 2, Folder 13March 25, 195?, Yaharo Hiromichi to Merrill, with translation

Series 2: Military Operations, Dispatches, and Distribution List

Box 3
Box 3, Folder 1Land, Sea, and Air Operations (June 1944 - May 1945)
Box 3, Folder 2Land, Sea, and Air Operations (June 1944 - October 1944)
Box 3, Folder 3Land, Sea, and Air Operations (June 1944 - May 1945)
Box 3, Folder 4Allied Commanders Dispatch (Part I)
Box 3, Folder 5Allied Commanders Dispatch (Part II)
Box 3, Folder 6Allied Commanders Dispatch (Part III)
Box 3, Folder 7Draft Dispatch (January 1946, Apppendix A+B)7
Box 3, Folder 8Drill Instruction
Box 3, Folder 9Distribution List June 1946
Box 3, Folder 10"Opperations in North Burma"

Series 3: Miscellaneous

Box 3, Folder 11Biographical Information
Box 3, Folder 12Recollections of Lucy W. Merrill covering 1941-1952
Finding Aid Image TEMP
  • Merrill

Brig. Gen. Frank D. Merrill, Commanding General, 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)
[taken from Merrill's Marauders]


Letters & Postcards
Military Papers