Category Archives: the Civil War during its sesquicentennial

Bully boys, hey! Bully boys, ho!

They spoiled for a fight. Edward Parsons Tobie Jr., a corporal in Co. G, 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment, figured “the spring campaign” officially began when the regiment left its wretched winter quarters at Camp Bayard near Belle Plain in Virginia’s Stafford County on Monday, April 13, 1863. His company, plus K, formed the rear guard […]

Research the Civil War at the Maine State Archives

If you’re researching Maine’s involvement in the Civil War, check out the incredibly detailed files preserved at the Maine State Archives in Augusta. There’s a whole Research Room available for your use. The Archives, the Maine State Library, and the Maine State Museum are all located in the State Cultural Building, the sharp-lined, monochromatic gray […]

Oh, bury me not among the Unknowns

Our heroes cry out, “Do you know who I am?” — and but for a bit of bronze or lead or a pencil-scrawled name on a slip of paper, we might. Twice during the Civil War did Union infantrymen charged Marye’s Heights on the western edge of Fredericksburg. Only once did the Yankees (including the […]

Very fake news about a very real veteran

For Civil War veteran Benjamin E. West, answering the “last call” had nothing to do with bellying up to the bar in a local tavern just before closing time. He literally “answered the last bugle call” on Tuesday, October 24, 1922 — and the obituary published before his body had barely cooled contained very fake […]

The mud and muck of Pulaski, Part IV

As the 36 Union artillery pieces embedded in the Tybee Island muck fired on Confederate-held Fort Pulaski on Thursday, April 10, the 8th Maine Infantry soldiers hastily trained as artillerists soon proved they could shoot as well as professional gunners. Army engineer Capt. Quincy A. Gillmore had anticipated that the Union’s carefully sited 13-inch mortars […]

The mud and muck of Pulaski, Part III

The 8th Maine Infantry soldiers guarding the Union artillery batteries placed upriver from Fort Pulaski helped prevent Confederate reinforcements from reaching that post, but could not shell it into submission. To do that, Army engineer Capt. Quincy A. Gillmore needed artillery placed on Union-held Tybee Island at the mouth of the Savannah River. Working “in […]

The mud and muck of Pulaski, Part II

Seldom in the experience of Maine soldiers had such idiocy been demanded of them. On Feb. 14, 1862, Lt. Col. Ephraim Woodman and five companies of the 8th Maine Infantry Regiment reported to U.S. Army engineer Egbert Viele on Daufuskie Island, about 5 miles from Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River in Georgia. Viele was […]

The mud and muck of Pulaski, Part I

Just like the graffiti character “Kilroy,” Mainers were everywhere during the Civil War, despite the modern belief that the Pine Tree State boys showed up only at Gettysburg. First Manassas? Check (Hiram Berry, Charles Tilden, and a few thousand etceteras more). Shiloh? Check (Comanche fighter Stephen Decatur Carpenter and a Maine youngster captured in Confederate […]

Waterville veterans wanted a bronze Citizen Soldier

My lovely wife has patiently toured so many Civil War battlefields, she claims that “when you’ve seen one cannon, you’ve seen them all.” Pertaining to all the green-hued 12-pounder Napoleons scattered from Gettysburg to Vicksburg and Malvern Hill and back, she’s right. She could also say the same for many Civil War monuments in Maine. […]

Bring a crane to take down Bowdoinham’s Civil War monument

If Mainers ever decide to tear down their own Civil War monuments, removing Bowdoinham’s will take a small crane, at least. In Bowdoinham on Merrymeeting Bay, residents waited until early in the 20th century to create a Civil War monument. “A committee … composed of W.B. Kendall, F.H. Purington, and J.L. Brown” set about “selecting […]