20th Maine re-enactors honor Aroostook County veteran buried in Orono

Civil War re-enactors from Co. B, 20th Maine Infantry, march past the grave of Glazier Estabrook at the Riverside Cemetery in Orono on Sunday, May 27. An Amity resident, Estabrook enlisted in the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment in August 1862 and fought until the Civil War ended in 1865. After his death in August 1892, he was buried in an unmarked grave beside his wife. During the May 27 graveside ceremony, a new gravestone was dedicated to Estabrook, and his great-great nephew, Corp. Arnold Estabrook of Amity, laid a wreath. (Bangor Daily News Photo by Michael C. York)

When Glazier Estabrook of Amity enlisted in Co. H, 20th Maine Infantry Regiment in August 1862, he could not envision the historical events in which he would participate by April 1865.

And he wasn’t done with his death on Aug. 27, 1892. Laid to rest at Riverside Cemetery on the Bennoch Road in Orono, Estabrook waited another 120 years to participate in his last war-related event.

On Sunday, May 27, Civil War re-enactors who belong to Co. B, 20th Maine Infantry Regiment remembered Estabrook during a ceremony at the Riverside Cemetery. Acting as an honor guard, the uniformed re-enactors fired a musket volley to help dedicate a marble gravestone recently set in place to identify Estabrook’s unmarked grave. He was buried beside his wife, who does have a gravestone.

20th Maine Infantry veteran Glazier Estabrook was buried beside his wife in an unmarked Orono grave. On Sunday, May 27, 2012, re-enactors from Co. B, 20th Maine, dedicated a new gravestone for Estabrook. (Bangor Daily News Photo by Michael C. York)

Among the re-enactors participating in the ceremony was Corp. Arnold Estabrook, who is Glazier Estabrook’s great-great nephew. Also hailing from Amity, Arnold Estabrook read the dedication and laid a wreath during the Orono ceremony.

“It’s only fitting that one of Glazier’s relatives serving with our company should say a few words,” said Lt. Paul Dudley, an Easton resident who commanded the Co. B detachment. “Like his ancestor, Corp. Estabrook stepped up to the mark.”

Glazier Estabrook supposedly was 45 (and possibly 49, based on an “official” birth date of March 20, 1813) when he joined Co. H, which drew men primarily from Aroostook County. The original captain was Henry Merriam from Houlton. Estabrook was a private; other Co. H privates hailed from such places as Hodgdon, Linneus, and Presque Isle. The 20th Maine Infantry mustered into federal service on Aug. 29, 1862 and left soon afterwards for Virginia.

A New Brunswick native, Glazier Estabrook had already relocated across the international border to Amity when the Civil War started in April 1861. In summer 1862, President Abraham Lincoln asked for 300,000 additional volunteers to join the Union army; Maine promised to raise four regiments — 4,000 men — but so many volunteers joined up that enough men were available to form a fifth regiment, the 20th Maine Infantry.

According to a Co. B press release, Estabrook was a lumberman who “accompanied several of his relatives into service with the Union Army and probably signed on to keep a watchful eye on his younger relations.” He fought in many battles involving the 20th Maine, including the regiment’s famous stand at Little Round Top in Gettysburg on July 2, 1863.

That battle was hard on Co. H, which lost three men killed: Aaron Adams of Linneus, Goodwin Ireland of Presque Isle, and Iredell Lamson of Presque Isle. Among the Co. H soldiers wounded were Hiram Chesley of Patten; Linneus residents Benjamin Clifford, Benjamin French, and Edmund Morrison; Mansfield Ham and Gustavus Walker of Hodgdon; and Byron Hilt of Presque Isle.

According to the Co. B press release, at Little Round Top Co. H “formed part of the downhill charge” dramatically depicted in the movie “Gettysburg.” And “the character of Glazier Estabrook appears” in a movie scene “casually making comments” to Joshua Chamberlain “before the real action begins,” the press release indicates.

Right after Chamberlain assigns Captains Jack Clark and Ellis Spear to oversee the the 20th Maine’s flanks, Corp. Estabrook and another soldier approach Chamberlain and salute. Estabrook is depicted as a shorter, stocky individual with a scruffy beard and a distinctive Down East Maine accent.

“What are we going to do with these prisoners here (pronounced ‘hee-yah’), the hotheads of the 2nd Maine?” Estabrook asks Chamberlain.

Chamberlain then approaches the six seated 2nd Maine prisoners and speaks to them about the impending battle.



Brian Swartz

About Brian Swartz

Welcome to "Maine at War," the blog about the roles played by Maine and her sons and daughters in the Civil War. I am a Civil War buff and a newspaper editor recently retired from the Bangor Daily News. Maine sent hero upon hero — soldiers, nurses, sailors, chaplains, physicians — south to preserve their country in the 1860s. “Maine at War” introduces these heroes and heroines, who, for the most part, upheld the state's honor during that terrible conflict. We tour the battlefields where they fought, and we learn about the Civil War by focusing on Maine’s involvement with it. Be prepared: As I discover to this very day, the facts taught in American classrooms don’t always jibe with Civil War reality. I can be reached at visionsofmaine@tds.net.