Preserve the battlefields where the Maine boys fought

  Of the many places where Maine soldiers and sailors fought 150 years ago, some sites no longer exist. The 9th Maine Infantry “went in” with the 54th Massachusetts Infantry on the failed nighttime assault on Fort Wagner near Charleston in July 1863. By war’s end, the sea was already claiming Fort Wagner and the […]

The Wilderness, Part IV — Trapped

After capturing Confederate-held trenches at the western edge of Saunders Field in The Wilderness on May 5, 1864, 20th Maine Infantry soldiers kept pushing their enemies through the tangled undergrowth beyond those trenches. The Maine soldiers advanced across this particular terrain just west of the trenches still found at Saunders Field. Anchoring his regiment’s left […]

Bangor to host national event in honor of 1st Maine Heavy Artillery

During a National Park Service-sponsored event titled “Reverberations — Commemorating the Overland Campaign,” Maine will honor a battle-shattered Civil War regiment as part of 11 observances taking place across the United States on Saturday, May 24. “The purpose of this Civil War 150th event is to help people understand that the suffering on the battlefields […]

The Wilderness, Part III — Slaughter at Saunders Field

  For the 20th Maine boys hurrying west from their recently constructed breastworks near the Old Wilderness Tavern in central Virginia, the slaughter began sometime after 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, 1864. At noon Brig. Gen. Charles Griffin had received an order to probe westward along the Orange Turnpike with his 1st Division of […]

The Wilderness, Part II — “The air was filled with lead”

  Theodore Gerrish and his 20th Maine Infantry comrades knew little about strategy — — but they certainly knew how to fight when the generals got their strategy all wrong. Ulysses Simpson Grant intended to hustle the well-rested and -equipped Army of the Potomac through The Wilderness on Wednesday, May 4, 1864. By emerging into […]

The Wilderness, Part 1 — One last fine spring day dawned on the 20th Maine

  When Pvt. Theodore Gerrish of the 20th Maine Infantry awoke to a perfect morning on Sunday, May 1, 1864, he never imagined that he and his friends would not see such a day again. Ulysses Simpson Grant believed that shoving the Army of the Potomac through a godless central Virginia forest that spring would […]

Life in the Florida swamps

For the 11th Maine Infantry boys accustomed to relatively tame reptiles and bugs back home in the Pine Tree State, duty in the northeastern Florida swamps proved eye-opening. Boarding the steamer “Boston” at Beaufort, S.C. on Thursday, June 4, 1863, soldiers assigned to the 11th Maine headed south to Florida. “Daylight of the 5th found […]

Bangor tinsmith left his family to fight with the 2nd Maine

The Civil War life and times of a New Brunswick- or Ireland-born tinsmith have been recalled in a book released late last year by a descendant. Researched and written by great-great-grandson David A. Cyr, “Henry Granville: A Civil War Soldier From Maine” follows Granville as he goes to war with the 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment […]

The Crater sent a monster home to Turner: Part 3

  Moments after a Confederate bullet struck him in the face, 2nd Lt. James J. Chase tumbled downslope to sprawl among his 32nd Maine Infantry Regiment comrades. Vaguely seeing Capt. Joseph Hammond beside him, Chase said, “Captain, I must die.” “Yes, Chase, you have a death shot,” Hammond replied. As comrades checked on him, Chase […]

Young officer paid terrible price when 32nd Maine charged The Crater: Part 2

  When the Union mine dug beneath a Confederate fort atop Cemetery Hill at Petersburg failed to explode on schedule on July 30, 1864, 17-year-old 2nd Lt. James J. Chase of Turner fell asleep. “I was soon wrapped in slumber, forgetful of what was going on around me, when suddenly I was awakened” by the […]