Oscar D. Merrick was born in 1839, probably in New York State.
In 1860 there was an Oscar Merrick residing in Farmersville, Cattaraugus County. Oscar eventually left New York and came to Michigan sometime before the war broke out.
He was 22 years old and possibly living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company A on May 13, 1861. (Company A was made up largely of men from Grand Rapids, and many of whom had served in various local militia units before the war, specifically the Valley City Guards, or VCG, under the command of Captain Samuel Judd, who would also command Company A.)
Along with about three dozen other men of the Old Third, Oscar was left sick in Grand Rapids on June 13, 1861, when the Regiment departed for Washington, DC. Although nearly all of those men left behind eventually rejoined the regiment later that month near Chain Bridge, just outside of Washington, DC, Oscar was officially listed as “never heard from since” the regiment left Michigan. Consequently he was charged with desertion as of August 31, 1861.
Many years after the war Oscar claimed that soon after the the Regiment left Michigan he returned to New York, and was discharged from the service sometime between August 1 and 10, 1863, in Troy, New York. (The Third Michigan had been detached from the Army of the Potomac in late August and early September of 1863 and sent first to New York City and then to Troy, New York, to provide security for the upcoming military draft in that state.) However, there is no record of such a discharge.
Curiously, there is the record for one Oscar D. Merrick, age 28, who enlisted as a private on February 12, 1864, in Troy, New York, in Unassigned, Seventh New York Heavy Artillery, and was mustered the same day. There is no further record.
It is not known if Oscar ever returned to Michigan after he left the army and by April of 1872 Oscar was residing near Niles in Cayuga County, New York. In 1879 he was living at Owosso in Cayuga County, and in 1880 he was working as a servant on the Maria Dennis farm and listed as a widower in Niles, Cayuga County. By 1892 he was living at 1 East Genesee Street in Auburn, Cayuga County.
Investigation into his pension application (no. 1,094,041) of 1892 showed that “the charge of desertion has not been removed,” and his application was rejected in July of 1896 on the grounds that he could produce no honorable discharge.