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.

So you think you know Maine at Gettysburg, part 1

Gettysburg fans, let’s take Part 1 of the MMM quiz, short for “Maine Monument Minutiae.” And if you’re a “frequent flier” at Gettysburg or own the book Maine at Gettysburg, you might know the answers (printed below). 1. Which Maine regiment has as many monuments as its unit designation? And where are they? 2. Name […]

Maine at War author will speak at Civil War weekend at Norlands

Join Maine at War at the Rally for Norlands: Civil War Living History Weekend, to be held this coming weekend (June 22-23) at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, 290 Norlands Road, Livermore. The largest gathering of all things Civil War taking place in Maine in 2019, Rally for Norlands is organized by two re-enactor units: […]

Civil War research digs into the weed patch

Researching the Civil War deep “into the weeds” requires time, patience, and a passion for the war. War-related research resembles a well-run Maine farm. There are the highly visible “crops”: the apple orchard, the potato field (think Aroostook County), the pea vines and bean stalks, etc., etc. Let’s compare that same farm to research related […]

Enrollment Act laid out the new national draft in detail

Note: This is one in a series of posts about the national draft and its impact on Maine. The Lincoln Administration had threatened a draft to stimulate recruitment in summer 1862, but settled for nine-month regiments to get enough men into uniform for the following winter. Fewer volunteers rallied around the flag by midwinter ’63, […]

Only a national draft could reinforce the Federal armies

Note: This is the first in a series of drop-in posts about the national draft and its impact on Maine. Was Ambrose Burnside a Confederate secret agent? No, but his pugnacious refusal to cancel the bloody December 13, 1862 charges at Fredericksburg almost accomplished in the Army of the Potomac camps what Robert E. Lee […]

The Letter to the Widow

Note: Memorial Day is Monday, May 27 After watching a young Maine soldier slip into eternity, Nathaniel P. Banks shared the captain’s last moments in a poignant letter to his widow. Born in Exeter, the teen-aged Abbott Coan moved to Orono in the early 1850s. Eschewing the initial patriotic call to arms in spring 1861, […]

Bangor Public Library will host May 28 Maine at War book signing

The Bangor Public Library will host a book signing for Maine at War Volume 1: Bladensburg to Sharpsburg in the Minsky Lecture Hall from 6-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 28. Author Brian F. Swartz will speak about Maine at War Volume 1 and the important role that Maine played during the Civil War. Copies of the […]

A Maine angel of mercy completed his mission at Port Hudson

Playing “angel of mercy” briefly cost Charlie Blake his freedom at Port Hudson, La. in late spring 1863. Hailing from Portland, 21-year-old Charles H. Blake had enlisted in Co. B, 12th Maine Infantry Regiment as a corporal in November 1861. The regiment accompanied Ben Butler’s New Orleans expedition in early 1862. Within 12 months, Union […]

Confederates shoot a Maine deserter at Vicksburg

Not every Maine boy donning a Civil War uniform wore Union blue. More than a few wore Confederate gray or butternut, and the Johnny Rebs shot a particular Maine lad after he bolted for Union lines somewhere in the Mississippi River Valley in early summer 1863. Many Union newspapers picked up the story, brought north […]

New book titled Maine at War Volume 1 covers an exciting 18-month period

For Civil War buffs everywhere, we are pleased to announce the May 1st release of Maine at War Volume 1: Bladensburg to Sharpsburg. Experience Maine’s involvement in the first 18 months of the Civil War as told by the men and women who left the Pine Tree State to defend and preserve the Union. Gleaned […]