Appointment with a Wilderness destiny, part 1

Sgt. Charles H. Haynes of Ellsworth marched toward his appointment with destiny as he crossed the Rapidan River on a pontoon bridge around sunset on Wednesday, May 4, 1864. His life would change dramatically within 72 hours. Twenty-six when he enlisted in Co. I, 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment on December 13, 1861, the married Haynes […]

Brownfield monument depicts a particular young hero

His right hand held palm outward, the soldier looks incredibly young. Turns out he’s just a kid. The designation of November 11 as Veterans Day lay decades in the future as Pvt. Daniel Augustus Bean and Co. A, 11th Maine Infantry Regiment, mustered into the United States Army on Monday, November 11, 1861. Along with […]

Spooked by ol’ Stonewall himself

Does the ghost of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson haunt the Shenandoah Valley, site of his legendary 1862 Valley Campaign? What a silly idea! Family and friends buried Jackson more than 150 years ago in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Lexington, Va. Later renamed the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, the burial ground contains ol’ Stonewall and other Southern […]

Virginia night battle broke a Machias mother’s heart

Sometime in latter November 1863, Capt. Wyer Bradbury opened a letter from home. The news was bad — real bad. A merchant ship’s skipper, Wyer lived in Machias with his wife, Eliza, and the Bradburys had raised at least two sons, James and Willie. Twenty when he enlisted in Co. C, 6th Maine Infantry Regiment […]

John Haley, the reluctant recruit

At Saco in York County, 22-year-old John West Haley wondered if he should enlist as Maine formed five new infantry regiments in summer 1862. Looking back some 15 months, he realized that “in 1861 I concluded I had a duty to perform[,] but hesitated about embarking on this troubled sea,” said Haley, recently a Saco […]

A local gem found during a Civil War search

Sometimes you find a gem when researching the Civil War. While scouting “Things to Do” in a weekend Bangor Daily News, I noticed the paragraph detailing the Corinth Historical Society Museum, open 2-7 p.m. on Wednesdays and 1-3 p.m. on Sundays. The phrase “Civil War artifacts” leaped off the page, so this being Sunday, we […]

Open your mouth and say “ah”

In the summer of 1862, prospective recruits joining the five new infantry regiments forming in Maine faced one gauntlet not run by the volunteers of ’61: tougher medical exams. Fourteen months earlier, doctors had approved recruits because they had sufficient fingers and toes and a palpable pulse. Stunned by vast numbers of soldiers medically discharged […]

2nd Maine deserters pop up in odd places

Historical records tell us that when the 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment mustered out in May 1863, the three-year recruits transferred to the 20th Maine while the two-year men went home. Not every 2nd Maine lad went in one direction or the other. In fact, while sailing to Bangor in May 1863, the regiment strewed deserters […]

Mainer offers tours highlighting Jackson’s Valley Campaign

Civil War buffs traveling with Shenandoah Civil War Tours can glimpse the 1862 Valley Campaign through the eyes of Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, courtesy of Peter Dalton of Northport. Passionate about the Civil War since he was in sixth grade in Belfast, Peter knows the Shenandoah Valley intimately, and he shares battle details and wartime […]

Chamberlain an officer? You gotta be kidding me!

As the 16th Maine Infantry slowly coalesced at August in summer ’62, the War Department asked Maine to raise three additional infantry regiments. Each would number around 1,000 men, plus 35-37 officers (if you counted the surgeon and assistant surgeon). Sitting at a desk in Brunswick on Monday, July 14, the 33-year-old professor of modern […]