Speakers announced for July 29-30 Civil War weekend in Bangor

Appearing at Eastport Hall on Texas Avenue, six speakers will highlight different aspects of Maine’s involvement in the Civil War as the Bangor Historical Society presents Drums on the Penobscot: A Civil War Experience on July 29-30 at the UMA-Bangor campus.

Admission to the weekend’s activities is free.

Among the speakers are a New England quilt historian, the Maine state archivist, the chairman of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, and three Maine authors who have published books about the Civil War.

Pamela Weeks, the Binney Family Curator at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts, will talk about Civil War Quilts for Union Soldiers at Eastport Hall at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Saturday, July 29.

Pamela Weeks, the Binney Family Curator at the New England Quilt Museum in Massachusetts, will speak about “Civil War Quilts and Union Soldiers” at Bangor on July 29 as part of the Civil War symposium being presented by the Bangor Historical Society. (Courtesy Photo)

The author of the 2013 book Civil War Quilts, Pamela started making quilts as a result of the craft revival inspired by the 1976 American bicentennial. By the mid-1980s she was designing her own work and considered herself an art quilter.

In 1991, Pamela took a class on reproducing antique quilts. Now hooked on quilt history, Weeks researched “potholder” quilts and Civil War quilts and wrote her book on the latter theme.

“As the Binney Family Curator of the New England Quilt Museum, I have the job of my dreams,” Pamela says. ”I work with many different quilters, collectors, institutions, and co-conspirators to plan exhibits for the museum, and research the quilts in the museum’s collection. I’m having so much fun!”

Maine State Archivist David Cheever is currently serving his second term in that position. Currently a resident of Augusta, he graduated from Bangor High School and Colby College. An award-winning broadcaster in radio and television, David is a former teacher, reporter, columnist, producer, and editor.

He became the press secretary for Governor Joseph Brennan in 1981. When Brennan was elected to Congress, David was hired by Attorney General James E. Tierney as public information liaison.

David later worked for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel before returning to state employment with the Maine State Library; he was nominated from there to the state-archivist position in 2007.

As state archivist, Cheever is preparing the agency for Maine’s upcoming bicentennial of statehood in 2020 and remains active in the presentation of Maine’s Civil War history to schools and the public throughout the state.

He will speak about Ready or Not, Bangor Goes to War at 12 noon, Saturday, July 29.

Nicholas Picerno is chairman of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. In 2006, he spearheaded the effort to purchase, protect, and interpret the Third Winchester battlefield, now the largest preserved battlefield in the Shenandoah Valley.

Nicholas Picerno, chairman of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, will speak twice during the July 29-30 Civil War symposium in Bangor. (Courtesy Photo)

He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Lee-Jackson Education Foundation of Charlottesville and the Federal Advisory Commission of the Cedar Creek-Belle Grove National Park and is vice president of the Lincoln Society of Virginia. A career police chief, Nick recently retired as chief of police at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia, where he continues to direct the Bridgewater College Civil War Institute.

Nick has been researching the history of the 1st-10th-29th Maine Infantry regiments for more than 35 years.

He will speak about those regiments in a talk titled Merit is Better Than Fame at 11 a.m., July 29 and will present The Death of General Joseph K Mansfield at Antietam at 12 noon on Sunday, July 30.

Peter P. Dalton of Northport has written two books about Maine’s contributions to Civil War. His first book, Into the Valley of Death, detailed the pivotal role of the 4th Maine Infantry Regiment at the Devil’s Den during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Peter P. Dalton is a Civil War author who lives in Northport. His July 29 presentation at Drums on the Penobscot will focus on Rockland’s Hiram Berry, who rose to high command during the early years of the Civil War. (Courtesy Photo)

His second book, With Our Faces to the Foe, traces the full three years of service of the 4th Maine Infantry.

Peter helped edit Hard Times, Hard Bread, and Harder Coffee, a volume centered on letters of written by Hezekiah Long of the 20th Maine Infantry; and Soldiers in Green, the diary of a Maine soldier from Company D, 2nd U. S. Sharpshooters. Peter also assisted his wife, Cyndi, in editing her two books, The Blanket Brigade and the reprint of the Regimental History of the 16th Maine Infantry.

Peter will present a program titled Into the Breach: The Life and War of Hiram Berry at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, July 29.

Diane Monroe Smith of Holden is a nationally recognized authority on Joshua Chamberlain, as well as the Overland Campaign (from the perspective of V Corps) and on the Battle of Petersburg in general.

Diane Monroe Smith, a nationally acclaimed Civil War historian and author from Holden, will focus on Joshua L. Chamberlain, both the hero and the human being, during her July 30 program at Eastport Hall in Bangor. (Courtesy Photo)

Her first book, Fanny & Joshua, was published in 1999 and was recently released in a second edition by the University Press of New England. In her research for Fanny & Joshua, Diane discovered a previously unknown manuscript in which Chamberlain described his attack at Rives Salient during the Battle of Petersburg in June 1864. Diane’s next book, Chamberlain at Petersburg, was published in 2004.

Diane’s research for Chamberlain at Petersburg brought with it an understanding of the important and often overlooked role the V Corps, Army of the Potomac, played in that campaign and led to the publication of her third book, Command Conflicts in Grant’s Overland Campaign.

Diane will speak about JLC 101: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, From Hero to Human Being at 11 a.m., Sunday, July 30.

Ned Smith of Holden is the author of two histories of Maine regiments in the Civil War. His first book looks at the 22nd Maine Infantry, a relatively little known regiment that took part in battles in the Deep South.

Ned Smith of Holden has researched and published books about the 22nd Maine Infantry Regiment and the 2nd Maine Cavalry Regiment. He will discuss those books, plus his upcoming history of the 31st and 32nd Maine infantry regiments, when he appears at Drums on the Penobscot on July 30. (Courtesy Photo)

His second book is a history of the 2nd Maine Cavalry, which spent its greatest part of service in Florida.

In both of his works, Ned used  many first-person accounts – letters, etc. – that give a look at the war from the perspective of the men who did the fighting.

Coupling these accounts with reports and correspondence from the Official Records and the Maine Adjutant General’s copious files, Ned presents a look at various battles, as well as the training, days on the march, and the reasons why these young men from Maine found themselves in such faraway places facing unimaginable peril.

Ned will talk about The Story of Two Maine Regiments in the Civil War at 10 a.m., Sunday, July 30.

He will discuss his research and writing for his two books and will also talk about his current project, a history of the 31st and 32nd Maine Regiments.

Join Maine at War in Bangor on July 28-30, as the Bangor Historical Society presents Drums on the Penobscot: A Civil War Experience at the UMA-Bangor campus off Maine Avenue. The exciting weekend will feature a military encampment, skirmishes, a parade, quilt historian Pamela Weeks and other guest speakers, the trial and execution of a uniformed deserter, and the opportunity to meet Joshua and Fanny Chamberlain. 

For more details, log onto http://www.bangorhistoricalsociety.org/drums-on-the-penobscot-a-civil-war-experience/

Brian Swartz can be reached at visionsofmaine@tds.net. He would love to hear from Civil War buffs interested in Maine’s involvement in the war.

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.