Category Archives: the Civil War during its sesquicentennial

Appomattox Road: “Forever better, Lincoln dead, than Davis living!” — Chamberlain and his men mourn Lincoln

  Finally convinced that his vengeance-seeking soldiers would not pillage and rape their way through the hapless post-Confederacy residents of  Farmville, Va., Brig. Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain joined his men in doing what they really wanted to do: mourning the murdered President Abraham Lincoln. Expressions of mourning were handled differently in 1865 than 2015, especially […]

Appomattox Road: “A frenzy of blind revenge” — Chamberlain reacts to Lincoln’s murder

  While witnessing the epic surrender of Confederate infantrymen at Appomattox Court House on Wednesday, April 12, 1865, Brig. Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain and his 1st Division veterans likely experienced an adrenalin rush. Realty soon intruded. By Friday the Union soldiers dined on rations “reduced to sediment in the haversacks [that] smelt of lead and […]

Appomattox Road: “We had all loved Abraham Lincoln so much” — assassination

  Victorious Union troops saw elation shift to melancholy on the Ides of April 1865. The mood shift began with growling stomachs. After stacking their arms and receiving their paroles on Wednesday, April 12, Confederate troops had “rapidly departed to their homes,” commented Pvt. Theodore Gerrish of the 20th Maine Infantry. By Thursday “there was […]

Appomattox Road: Chamberlain accepts the surrender — April 12, 1865

  Tension stirred the blue-clad regiments stretched along Lynchburg Stage Road in mid-morning on Wednesday, April 12, 1865. “The Johnnies are coming,” a 20th Maine lad whispered within earshot of Pvt. Theodore Gerrish. “There they are,” a comrade said, chin-pointing to his right. Not far away, Brig. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain sat on his horse amidst […]

Appomattox Road: “The news spread through the city like wild-fire” — Portlanders celebrate on April 10, 1865

  The first week of April 1865 coincided with the happiest — and likely most accurate — headlines that residents of Portland (Maine) had read in four years. “Glorious News,” the John Adams-edited “Eastern Argus” proclaimed on page 2 on Tuesday, April 4. “The Rebel Capital Fallen! Petersburg in our Possession. The Stars and Stripes […]

Appomattox Road: “We at once charged him with lying” — disbelief on April 9, 1865

  John Haley, the scrappy private from Saco, disbelieved the news that “an inveterate newsmonger” delivered to the 17th Maine Infantry Regiment around 10:30 a.m., Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865. Heading ever westward, Haley and his Co. I comrades had tramped, tramped, tramped their weary way west across southern Virginia the previous day. Up and […]

Commemorating the 150th at Appomattox Court House — April 9, 2015

  The Civil War sesquicentennial officially ends this weekend as the 150th anniversary observances wind down at Appomattox Court House in Southside Virginia. Organizers pulled out all the stops to educate ACH National Historic Park visitors about what happened here in this quaint village exactly 150 years ago. Maine at War visited the park on […]

Appomattox Road: “We waited for morning and Gen. Lee’s army” — April 9, 1865

  Shortly after sunset on Saturday, April 8, 1865, a few dozen 1st Maine Cavalry troopers and their weary horses vanished into the Virginia darkness near Appomattox Station, a major stop on the Southside Railroad linking Petersburg with Lynchburg. The troopers went foraging for food and fodder while their comrades remained near the station. Suddenly […]

Appomattox Road: “We wanted to be there when the rebels found the last ditch” — Pursuit

  As the sun rose daily in early April 1865, the Maine boys pursuing Robert E. Lee’s disintegrating army sensed that the jig was almost up — and the thought of final victory buoyed their morale. “The end seemed close at hand,” recalled 1st Lt. Robert Brady Jr. of the 11th Maine Infantry. Only a […]

A Maine at War exclusive: Recent construction mars 10th Maine Infantry site at Antietam

  The 21st century and weak conservation easements have overrun a battlefield where soldiers from the 10th Maine Infantry Regiment fought and bled on Sept. 17, 1862. Early on that far-off Wednesday, Col. George Beal led the 10th Maine boys into a bivouac on the George Line farm, located near the Smoketown Road several miles […]