All posts by Brian Swartz

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.

Artillery back story at Gettysburg: part 2, the view from the seminary

“Location, location, location” (and Union Col. Charles S. Wainwright, plus a Confederate general) brought Capt. Greenlief T. Stevens and the 5th Maine Battery to the Gettysburg Theological Seminary campus in late morning on Wednesday, July 1, 1863. Located on a slight rise not much taller than a wicked big Maine frost heave (we love the […]

Artillery back story at Gettysburg, part 1

An oxidized cannon and a granite stone have a story to tell. Mainers visiting Gettysburg National Military Park naturally drift to its Maine monuments, usually starting with the 20th Maine Infantry’s modest gray monument on Little Round Top. There are many others,including two monuments to the 5th Maine Battery. So back to that oxidized cannon […]

Volunteers dedicate new 1st Maine Cavalry monument, part 2

Seeking a place to site a 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment monument in northern Virginia, Steve Bunker of Gray “wanted to do something at Aldie,”where the regiment charged Confederate troopers defending a stone wall on June 17, 1863. He envisioned “at the very least a small stone at the stone wall … but the property owner […]

Volunteers dedicate new 1st Maine Cavalry monument, part 1

This past June, volunteers erected what is only the second monument in Virginia dedicated to a Maine combat unit from the Civil War. Steve Bunker of Gray was among “a number of New Englanders” who founded the 1st Maine Cavalry re-enacting organization at Jacksonville Beach, Fla. in 1959. “Most of the guys were 16, 17, […]

Artillery pounds 19th Maine lads prior to Pickett’s Charge

Twenty-two when he mustered as a corporal with Company I, 19th Maine Infantry Regiment on August 25, 1862, Edgar A. Burpee displayed leadership skills that saw him promoted to first lieutenant by summer 1863. Midcoast men filled Company I, commanded on the march north to Gettysburg by Capt. George D. Smith of Rockland. The towns […]

Connie Benwitz discusses Underground Railroad quilts at Minot event

I’m not a quilter. Susan is, though, and that’s why we attended the Minot Historical Society’s Civil War Days on Saturday, July 27: to hear Connie Benwitz talk about Underground Railroad quilts. Little did I know how much I would enjoy a program about quilting! The weekend featured re-enactors from Co. A, 3rd Maine Infantry; […]

Disparaged monument finds a quieter home 44 miles downriver

How soon until a darkness-clad thug “tags” the Virginia monument at Gettysburg? Confederate-monument vandalism continues unabated, with red spray paint applied to a Nashville, Tennessee monument in mid-June 2019, a 7-ton monument defaced in Santa Ana, Calif. on July 7, and a Bardstown, Kentucky monument splattered with red paint in May 2019. Living about 40 […]

The 5th Maine boys tramped into a leaden hail

Heroes tramped into a leaden hail at Gaines Mill, Va. on Friday, June 27, 1862. From chapter 34 in my new book, Maine at War Volume 1: Bladensburg to Sharpsburg, comes this adapted story involving the 5th Maine Infantry Regiment, commanded by Col. Nathaniel Jackson. When George McClellan decided to flee the Peninsula (the man […]