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.

Eastport editor liked a correspondent’s rah-rah-sis-boom-bah attitude

Noel B. Nutt knew a good letter-to-the-editor when it crossed his desk — and this particular letter from Corp. Philip H. Andrews of Co. B, 11th Maine Infantry Regiment certainly fit the bill: • Addressed to the correct newspaper (The Sentinel), check; • Addressed to the right person (“Mr. Editor”), check; • Espoused the Republican […]

The 20th Maine lads on Death Row

An incident overlooked by the history books inexplicably placed 14 lads from the 20th Maine Infantry on Death Row, and someone must be held accountable for doing so. Ellis Spear or Walter Morrill or Holman Melcher? No, they were not in charge when these men from Maine committed the transgression that led to their collective […]

A descendant seeks her Maine Civil War hero at Poplar Grove National Cemetery

Editor’s note: Dawn Langton of Florida is a great-great granddaughter of Willard Greenleaf Delano, who mustered with the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment in Bangor in 1863 and died at Petersburg on June 18, 1864. This is the tale of her search for her ancestor’s burial site. By Dawn Langton A new family was born […]

Confederates trap the 7th Maine in an Antietam apple orchard, Part III

Ordered by Col. William Irwin to take the depleted 7th Maine Infantry Regiment and charge Confederate skirmishers hiding among haystacks at the Piper Farm near Sharpsburg, Maj. Thomas Hyde rode out with his 170-or-so heroes to make a suicide charge shortly after 5 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 17, 1862. The Maine lads marched south and “crossed […]

The 7th Maine were to find their Balaklava at Antietam, Part II

The 3rd Brigade commanded by Col. William Howard Irwin absorbed casualties from Confederate artillery and rifle fire at Antietam throughout the afternoon on Wednesday, Sept. 17. 1862. Including the 7th Maine Infantry Regiment commanded by Maj. Thomas Hyde, the brigade held ground east of the Dunker Church; from his vantage point amidst the boulders sheltering […]

They Are Our Glory — the 7th Maine at Antietam, Part I

Wind-stirred flags attracted Confederate attention at Antietam, as Thomas Worcester Hyde realized by mid-afternoon on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 1862. A Bowdoin College graduate and the only son of a Yankee trader from Bath, Hyde had commanded the 7th Maine Infantry Regiment during the Sept. 14 attack on Confederate-held Crampton’s Gap on South Mountain in Maryland. […]

Gettysburg Burning

Why was Gettysburg burning? Had Confederate Brig. Gen. John McCausland burned the town down as effectively as he did nearby Chambersburg in late July 1864? Not quite. Smoke still wisped amidst the now ashen undergrowth as I stepped onto the summit of Little Round Top on Wednesday, April 12. Brilliant redbud blossoms had brightened the “back […]

Maine sailor lived the pirate’s life in Tidewater Virginia

Legalized pillaging was so profitable in Virginia’s Tidewater in late 1862 that a young Maine sailor had it all figured out: “Yo, ho! Yo, ho! A pirate’s life for me!” Subscribers thumbing through the Portland Daily Press on Thursday, January 1, 1863 focused their attention on a page 2, column 2 header, “Letter from on […]

Civil War Zouave will speak in Bangor on April 20

Civil War re-enactor Robert “Maynard” Kufrovich will portray a Zouave of the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment when he talks about The Zouave Element at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 20 at the Isaac Farrar Mansion, 166 Union Street, Bangor. His talk is part of the Civil War Lecture Series presented by the Bangor Historical Society. Kufrovich […]

Going Home: “ragged and dust laden” they marched into Richmond

When Robert E. Lee affixed his signature to the Appomattox Court House surrender document on April 9, 1865, he effectively flipped the Civil War switch to “off.” The shooting suddenly stopped, except in specific regions of the Deep South and Trans-Mississippi where Confederate and Union troops would not learn about the surrender for days. Gunfire […]