Levant soldier followed Greeley’s advice to “go West, young man”

  As did so many other Maine soldiers, a 19-year-old cavalryman from Levant who helped shove Confederate troops from their Petersburg defenses discovered that greater economic opportunity lay elsewhere than Maine after the Civil War. Born in Levant on December 6, 1845, Perley Lowe grew up in a decidedly rural Maine. Most men found employment […]

Civil War weekend in Augusta to highlight Appomattox surrender

The Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House will be among the highlighted events as the Maine Living History Association stages “Appomattox and the Grand Review March” in August on Saturday-Sunday, June 27-28. Activities will take place at the 224-acre Viles Arboretum at 153 Hospital St. (Route 9) in Augusta. Hours for “Appomattox and the Grand […]

Battle of the Bards — Part 2: Regiments trade volley fire in a Maine newspaper

  If Col. Hiram Burnham was pleased that his 6th Maine Infantry received a brief mention in the May 15, 1862 issue of the Maine Farmer, he certainly did not care when he blew his Down East gasket nine days later. Several Maine infantry regiments had battled at Williamsburg, Va. on May 5. The 6th […]

Battle of the Bards — Part 1: The 7th Maine fields a two-man PR machine

  Not until after the Battle of Williamsburg, Va. in early May 1862 did Col. Hiram Burnham learn what Col. Edwin Mason instinctively knew: the value of a good press agent. A Cherryfield native, Burnham commanded the 6th Maine Infantry, Mason the 7th Maine. Months before that regiment fought at Williamsburg, readers of the Maine […]

June 11 online auction to include many Civil War-related items

 Maine at War exclusive President Abraham Lincoln could not conceive while penning a letter to Postmaster General Montgomery Blair on November 2, 1863, that because of the presidential signature signed on the bottom of page 2, the document would one day fetch a starting bid of  $30,000 during a 21st-century auction. And when Gen. Robert […]

Confederates in the Attic (and Maine cemeteries, too)

Tony Horwitz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has historically examined such subjects as John Brown and his bloody raid and European exploration of North America, released his delightful “Confederates In The Attic” in 1998. A “must read” for Civil War buffs, the book explores why the war remains so palpable in many Southern locales. But […]

The end of Appomattox Road: paying the ultimate sacrifice

  So close, yet so far: Some Maine soldiers who witnessed the literal dawn of peace at Appomattox Court House on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865 did not see its sunset. Their blood, along with that shed by many other Union soldiers that day, was the price to end the Civil War. As the 11th […]

Appomattox Road: “Forever better, Lincoln dead, than Davis living!” — Chamberlain and his men mourn Lincoln

  Finally convinced that his vengeance-seeking soldiers would not pillage and rape their way through the hapless post-Confederacy residents of  Farmville, Va., Brig. Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain joined his men in doing what they really wanted to do: mourning the murdered President Abraham Lincoln. Expressions of mourning were handled differently in 1865 than 2015, especially […]

Appomattox Road: “A frenzy of blind revenge” — Chamberlain reacts to Lincoln’s murder

  While witnessing the epic surrender of Confederate infantrymen at Appomattox Court House on Wednesday, April 12, 1865, Brig. Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain and his 1st Division veterans likely experienced an adrenalin rush. Realty soon intruded. By Friday the Union soldiers dined on rations “reduced to sediment in the haversacks [that] smelt of lead and […]

Appomattox Road: “We had all loved Abraham Lincoln so much” — assassination

  Victorious Union troops saw elation shift to melancholy on the Ides of April 1865. The mood shift began with growling stomachs. After stacking their arms and receiving their paroles on Wednesday, April 12, Confederate troops had “rapidly departed to their homes,” commented Pvt. Theodore Gerrish of the 20th Maine Infantry. By Thursday “there was […]