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.

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 […]

Stockton Springs gunner fights J.E.B. Stuart’s best artillery at “Dam-freeze”

Amidst the thunder of the guns, a cool-thinking young artillery officer from Stockton Springs outfought the best horse artillery that J.E.B. Stuart could spare. December 1862 found Stuart’s experienced Confederate cavalry raising havoc with Union convoys traveling along the Telegraph Road in Tidewater Virginia’s Prince William County. Convoys crossed Occoquan Creek at Occoquan and rolled […]

Democratic draft opponents thrash pro-Republican Grant in Prospect

  Did the first violent resistance against the draft in Maine occur, in of all places, Prospect? Bordered by modern routes 1, 1A, and 174, Prospect lies at the eastern tip of Waldo County, spreading across the hills to the bluffs along the Penobscot River Narrows. The town’s population was 709 in the 2010 federal […]

You’ve got the wrong guy in that coffin!

Stephen King could have penned the Somerset County horror story unfolding in mid-January 1863. At Pittsfield on the Sebasticook River, Reverend Ephraim Johnson and his wife, Abigail, had bid their two oldest sons, 23-year-old Franklin and 20-year-old Henry, “farewell” in the past few months. Farmers toiling the soils near the flood-prone Sebasticook, Ephraim and the […]

Local police chased criminal soldiers running amok in Bangor

Criminals camouflaged as soldiers briefly ran amok in Bangor in late summer 1862. Volunteers and draftees started reporting to Camp John Pope in early September. After forming at the camp, the 18th Maine Infantry Regiment had mustered into federal service on August 21, 1862. Local residents had enjoyed a good relationship with the soldiers. Not […]

A marching Maine regiment carried sight and sound into history

  To this day we cannot hear the actual sounds heard during the Civil War. Some particular sounds intrigue Civil War buffs; the apparently frightening “Rebel Yell” comes to mind, for example. Ironically, an “exclusive clip from the 1930s” in which aging Confederate veterans “step up to the mic and let out their version of […]

Sea-swaying steamer sends seasick sailors to the rail

  With recruiting seriously lagging in late summer 1862, the War Department authorized Maine and other loyal states to raise nine-month regiments. Rather than sign up three years or until the war’s end, as had the men recently enlisted in the 16th through 20th infantry regiments, men joining the nine-month regiments would serve only 270 […]

Confederate pirates learn not to mess with a Maine woman

  Believing she was threatened with rape, a Maine woman turned the tables on her Confederate captors one dark night in the Caribbean in early January ’63. That month found the 233-ton brig J.P. Ellicott (out of Bucksport) sailing from Boston to Cienfuegos in Cuba to pick up cargo. Aboard the two-masted ship were some […]

Help save 17 acres at Camp Letterman hospital site in Gettysburg: Part II

  Maine has a real serious connection with the lonely Medical Department monument alongside Route 30 (York Pike) at Gettysburg. As explained last week in http://maineatwar.bangordailynews.com/2017/02/01/help-save-17-acres-at-camp-letterman-hospital-site-in-gettysburg-part-i/, the monument stands near the road built to access Camp Letterman, the large field hospital established in late July 1863 to care for soldiers too seriously wounded to be […]