History/Travel

Merrill’s Marauders Bridge

Route 3 crosses the Souhegan River in Merrimack, New Hampshire.  The bridge that spans the river in this place is called the Merrill’s Marauders Bridge, named after the Army Rangers who volunteered for “a dangerous and hazardous mission” behind enemy lines in Burma in World War Two.  The Rangers were led by Brigadier General Frank Merrill and accomplished some extraordinary things during the war.

Marching a thousand miles through the jungle, Merrill’s Marauders attacked the flanks of elite, battle-hardened Japanese troops time and again.  This is not unlike the warfare that Roger’s Rangers conducted during the French and Indian War.  The Marauders captured a strategically important airfield called Myitkyina Airfield, disrupted supply lines and generally overcame vastly superior numbers to win critical battles against the Japanese.

After the war, General Merrill became the Commissioner of Highways for the State of New Hampshire.  Apparently this bridge over the Souhegan River was his favorite in the state, and he and his Marauders are immortalized with the bridge now named for them.  I think Robert Rogers would appreciate it as much as Merrill’s Marauders did.

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