Category Archives: the Civil War during its sesquicentennial

Succinct in death, Valentine left a paper trail in life

Beneath a standard Civil War veteran’s headstone at the Clewleyville Cemetery in Holden lies a man who left quite the paper trail, especially after leaving the army. He’s Valentine Clewley, a surname long found around the lower Penobscot Valley, especially between Brewer and the Dedham Hills. We might call him “Valentine” or “Val,” but hopefully […]

When blue lives mattered

Sometimes the past slaps the present, especially concerning our heroes. For the past few years I’ve scoured Maine to photograph its Civil War monuments, some 140 or so and ranging from the small to the tall, from the bland to the boring to the weird. I’ve photographed most, but somehow the monument in Madison fell […]

Teenager wants to scalp the Confederate that was a Yankee

Amidst the Confederate-statue toppling comes a story that not even a Hollywood screen writer could conceive: a 15-year-old Kentuckian wants to tear down a Confederate statue that started life as a Union soldier and still looks amazing like a Billy Yank, not a Johnny Reb! Jessamine County’s located due south of the Fayette County-Lexington metroplex […]

Will the Confederate monuments at Gettysburg bite the dust?

When vandals tear down a Frederick Douglass statue, what’s that got to do with removing Confederate statues — especially at Gettysburg? On Sunday, July 5, vandals broke a Frederick Douglass statue off its pedestal at Maplewood Park in Rochester, N.Y. and dragged the black abolitionist’s bronze figure to the edge of a river gorge. This […]

Disaffected Maine Republicans chuck their own governor, Part 2

Previous: Maine Governor Abner Coburn runs afoul of the special interests Married to Augusta native Harriet Stanwood, transplanted Pennsylvanian James G. Blaine wielded great power within the Maine Republican Party by summer 1863. Buying into the Kennebec Journal in 1853, he moved to Augusta and won election to the Maine House in 1858. Repeatedly re-elected, […]

Sitting governor runs afoul Republican opponents, Part 1

As Maine soldiers converged on Gettysburg, revengeful Republican politicians tossed aside the state’s sitting governor, Abner Coburn. A successful businessman from Skowhegan, he had beaten three opponents during the early June 1862 Republican state convention held in Portland. Winning the September election, he took office in January 1863 and soon collided with power-wielding politicians. Coburn […]

Sea fight on Albemarle Sound, part 3

While ramming the CSS Albemarle on her starboard quarter, the 14-gun side-wheel USS Sassacus rode up on the ironclad skippered by Commander James Wallace Cooke. At such a close distance, nobody could miss. “The guns were so close together that the burned powder from the ironclad’s gun blackened the bows of the Sassacus,” recalled that […]

Sea fight on Albemarle Sound, part 2

Commanded by Acting Volunteer Lt. Charles A. French, the side-wheel gunboat USS Miami (742 tons and six guns) weighed anchor at Edenton Bay at 1 p.m. on May 5, 1864 and steamed southeast across North Carolina’s Albemarle Sound toward the Roanoke River estuary. With Miami came the USS Commodore Hull (a 382-ton side-wheel ferry mounting […]

Sea fight on Albemarle Sound, part 1

Charles Addison Boutelle sensed trouble. Today — Thursday, May 5, 1864 — had dawned clear, already 63 degrees at 4 a.m. A southwesterly breeze flitted gently across Albemarle Sound in North Carolina as the temperature climbed steadily to 69 degrees at 8 a.m. and 83 degrees at noon. The North Carolina sun beat relentlessly on […]

Harper’s Ferry scenes for locked-down Civil War buffs

If not for John Brown, not many Americans would ever hear about Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia. Nestled in the hole where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac River, Harper’s Ferry was an important transportation hub prior to the Civil War. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal curved beneath Maryland Heights across the Potomac, and the […]