Winter weather could be as wild in Virginia as in Maine

Accustomed to New England’s frigid winters, many Maine soldiers noticed how cold and wet that Virginia winters could be. John H. Stevens, a first lieutenant with Co. D, 5th Maine Infantry, hailed from Acton in York County. Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains, Acton saw its share of bitter cold, but growing up […]

A Confederate cluck brings a County soldier little luck

A chicken ratted out Lawrence Kelley. The son of Patrick and Rachel Whitenacht Kelley of Eaton Grant (which became the eastern half of the Aroostook County town of Lyndon in 1859), Kelley was familiar with farm animals, especially with which critters made a tasty treat. The knowledge came in handy when marching past Confederate farms.* […]

Dexter soldier enjoyed the winter sun and fun on Ship Island – Part II

While the old folks at home in Dexter shoveled snow in winter 1862, the greatest problem facing Pvt. Eugene Kincaide Kingman of Co. H, 12th Maine Infantry, was deciding which skeeter to swat. After arriving at Ship Island off the Mississippi coast on Feb. 12, the 12th Maine boys had camped near the island’s north […]

Dexter soldier discovered a snowbird’s Gulf Coast paradise – Part I

Ship Island: The name’s not familiar like Long Island, Mount Desert Island, or Peaks Island. If you are a Civil War buff, perhaps you’ve heard of the place — — or maybe you haven’t. Pvt. Eugene Kincaide Kingman of Dexter certainly thought Ship Island was a great place to escape a cold Maine winter. He […]

Even a “Dear John” letter was welcome on Valentine’s Day 1864

  There were many moments in winter 1864 when a Maine doctor stationed on the Texas Gulf Coast would have welcomed a “Dear John” letter — or any printed material to disrupt the mind-numbing ennui affecting his morale. But a letter from home was the best morale-boosting elixir of all. In transferring from the 15th […]

Mardi Gras 1863 was not exactly Cinderella’s grand ball

Given the choice between participating in Mardi Gras 1863 and watching a cavalry review, Pvt. Eugene Kincaide Kingman of Dexter opted for the latter. Yet he still wound up applying a shine to his shoes and uniform and going to a masked ball, but certainly not as a blue-clad Cinderella. Hailing from Dexter, Eugene served […]

Dexter surgeon sent his wife packing and broke her heart

  Given the opportunity to have his wife and young son join him on a Texas Gulf Coast island in late 1863, Dr. John Butler Wilson of Dexter shipped them home instead. He soon regretted his decision — and had he foreseen the future, Wilson would never have let his family out of his sight. […]

A Maine cavalryman meets a legendary Union raider in Louisiana – Part III

  When he mounted his horse on Saturday, May 2, 1863, Capt. John Franklin Godfrey (“Frank” to his friends, relatives, and fellow officers) rode out to meet history — — and he became a historical footnote in doing so. Since raising Co. C of the 1st Louisiana Cavalry in New Orleans in late summer 1862, […]

A Maine cavalryman thrashes his own man in Louisiana: Part II

  By Nov. 7, 1862, Capt. John Franklin Godfrey could proudly tell his parents (John Edwards and Elizabeth Stackpole Godfrey of Bangor) that the Army had turned loose him and his Co. C, 1st Louisiana Cavalry Regiment (U.S.) to run amuck in Louisiana. “I like the cavalry service very much … and there are few […]

A Maine cavalryman runs amuck in Louisiana: Part I

Upon arriving in New Orleans, John Franklin Godfrey of Bangor discovered he would rather ride like the wind than shoot like the devil. The 22-year-old son of Judge John Edwards Godfrey and Elizabeth Stackpole Godfrey of Bangor, Godfrey had joined the 1st Maine Cavalry as a private in autumn 1861. An ambitious young man, he […]