1st Maine Heavies dueled with Ewell’s best at Harris Farm

  Note: This is the second of a two-part article about the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery’s involvement in the Battle of Harris Farm, Va. Unable to break the Confederate lines at Spotsylvania despite repeated assaults, Ulysses Simpson Grant tried in mid-May 1864 to slip the Army of the Potomac east and south around the enemy […]

Lack of combat skills costs 1st Maine Heavies dearly at Harris Farm

  A few hours spent learning rudimentary combat skills could have saved many Maine lives near Spotsylvania Court House, Va. on Thursday, May 19, 1864. The modern Army’s concept of “Advanced Infantry Training” did not exist during the Civil War. The small pre-war Army primarily fought Indians in the far West, where parade-ground maneuvers drawn […]

Locked and Loaded in Baltimore

Friendly receptions drew loud “huzzahs” as the 3rd Maine Infantry Regiment headed south to the war zone in early June 1861. And then there was Baltimore. Beneath “a cloudless sky,” the 3rd Maine boys left Augusta by train on Wednesday, June 5, 1861, recalled Col. Oliver Otis Howard, the professional soldier from Leeds who had […]

Images of the Dead

During the early months of the Civil War, civilians and soldiers — North and South alike — viewed war as a grand adventure comprising glittering cavalcades of marching soldiers and held-high flags. Then came the reality of war, experienced first on the battlefield by amateur soldiers in early summer 1861 and next by civilians some […]

Larry Knight follows his great-grandfather into prison

Like his great-grandfather, Larry Knight frequents prisons in the Deep South. However, unlike Pvt. Adelbert Knight of Co. F, 11th United States Infantry Regiment, Larry visits places like Camp Sumter in Andersonville, Ga. and Libby Prison in Richmond, Va. as a visitor, not an inmate. The son of Samuel and Abner Knight of Lincolnville, the […]

The vice president shouldered a rifle in Kittery

Some Bangor boys once spent a pleasant wartime summer guarding a fort on the Maine coast. Not many Mainers visit Fort McClary, an interesting state historic site located off Route 103 in Kittery Point. Built to protect Kittery and Portsmouth, N.H. against enemy warships, the fort comprised a blockhouse and other buildings perched on a […]

Meet the Heroes of Evergreen Cemetery: Part II

  Approximately 1,400 Civil War veterans — I call them “heroes,” if only because they fought to preserve our country — lie buried at Evergreen Cemetery on Stevens Avenue in Portland. On a recent sunny, warm summer’s day, Friends of Evergreen docent Lin Brown introduced me to about 50 of them. We toured the 239-acre […]

Meet the Heroes of Evergreen Cemetery: Part I

  Nowhere else in Maine can people meet so many Civil War veterans than at Evergreen Cemetery, located at 672 Stevens Ave., in Portland — — and through its well-organized docent tours, the Friends of Evergreen are anxious to make the introductions. Through the mid-19th century, burials gradually filled Eastern Cemetery and Western Cemetery in […]

Fifth Maine museum connects past and present

  When the 5th Maine Infantry boys decided to party after the Civil War, they figured that Portland was the obvious place … … but to keep their poignant reunions private and give their weary comrades a quiet place to “get away from it all,” the 5th Maine’s surviving members chose peaceful Peaks Island as […]

Mutineers could drive an officer crazy

Deserters were not the only man-made plague that drove Maine officers crazy during the Civil War; independent-minded Maine soldiers might mutiny, too, if they so decided. Patriotic fervor swept the Midcoast in mid-April 1861. A business partner with Hiram Berry, Elijah Walker sold coal and lumber in Rockland, recently split from Thomaston and designated the […]