Appomattox Road: “We at once charged him with lying” — disbelief on April 9, 1865

  John Haley, the scrappy private from Saco, disbelieved the news that “an inveterate newsmonger” delivered to the 17th Maine Infantry Regiment around 10:30 a.m., Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865. Heading ever westward, Haley and his Co. I comrades had tramped, tramped, tramped their weary way west across southern Virginia the previous day. Up and […]

Commemorating the 150th at Appomattox Court House — April 9, 2015

  The Civil War sesquicentennial officially ends this weekend as the 150th anniversary observances wind down at Appomattox Court House in Southside Virginia. Organizers pulled out all the stops to educate ACH National Historic Park visitors about what happened here in this quaint village exactly 150 years ago. Maine at War visited the park on […]

Appomattox Road: “We waited for morning and Gen. Lee’s army” — April 9, 1865

  Shortly after sunset on Saturday, April 8, 1865, a few dozen 1st Maine Cavalry troopers and their weary horses vanished into the Virginia darkness near Appomattox Station, a major stop on the Southside Railroad linking Petersburg with Lynchburg. The troopers went foraging for food and fodder while their comrades remained near the station. Suddenly […]

Appomattox Road: “We wanted to be there when the rebels found the last ditch” — Pursuit

  As the sun rose daily in early April 1865, the Maine boys pursuing Robert E. Lee’s disintegrating army sensed that the jig was almost up — and the thought of final victory buoyed their morale. “The end seemed close at hand,” recalled 1st Lt. Robert Brady Jr. of the 11th Maine Infantry. Only a […]

A Maine at War exclusive: Recent construction mars 10th Maine Infantry site at Antietam

  The 21st century and weak conservation easements have overrun a battlefield where soldiers from the 10th Maine Infantry Regiment fought and bled on Sept. 17, 1862. Early on that far-off Wednesday, Col. George Beal led the 10th Maine boys into a bivouac on the George Line farm, located near the Smoketown Road several miles […]

Appomattox Road: “We will fight our way back to the regiment!” — Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Five Forks

  Withdrawn from its White Oak Road earthworks after dark on Friday, March 31, 1865, the weary soldiers of the 5th Corps “about-faced” and went after Five Forks on April Fool’s Day … … and, in a master stroke attributable to sloppy reconnaissance, emerged onto the road leading to Appomattox Court House. Saturday’s clear, cold, […]

Appomattox Road: “The awful tide was rolling toward us” — Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Battle of White Oak Road

  “Daylight dawned, cold, wet, and cheerless” in the 20th Maine Infantry’s temporary camp west of Petersburg, Va. on Thursday, March 30, 1865, said Pvt. Theodore Gerrish of Co. H. The previous day, elements of the 1st Division, 5th Corps, Army of the Potomac, had captured the Confederate earthworks stretching across the Quaker Road near […]

Appomattox Road: “A heavy blow struck me just above the left breast” — Joshua Chamberlain at Quaker Road

  The end was approaching. By late March 1865, “we felt sure that he (Ulysses Simpson Grant) was preparing some great movement, and this must be still to the left, to cut [Robert E.] Lee’s communications and envelop his existing lines,” said Brig. Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th […]

Appomattox Road: Cavalry fight at Dinwiddie – Part II: “A first-class wild-cat show coming up”

  Jonathan Prince Cilley received short notice about the Confederate surprise attack that almost “rolled up” the 2nd Division, U.S. Cavalry Corps, about suppertime on Friday, March 31, 1865. Throughout the afternoon, his 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment had held the division’s far left flank while strung out along the east bank of Chamberlain’s Run, a […]

Appomattox Road: Cavalry fight at Dinwiddie – Part I: “The sharp, heavy volleys heard over the hill”

  Sent to capture an obscure Southside Virginia crossroads in late March 1865, Phil Sheridan botched the assignment — and the 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment saved him from an embarrassing defeat. Ulysses Simpson Grant sent Sheridan to make an end run around the left flank of Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. […]