Help save 17 acres at Camp Letterman hospital site in Gettysburg: Part II

  Maine has a real serious connection with the lonely Medical Department monument alongside Route 30 (York Pike) at Gettysburg. As explained last week in http://maineatwar.bangordailynews.com/2017/02/01/help-save-17-acres-at-camp-letterman-hospital-site-in-gettysburg-part-i/, the monument stands near the road built to access Camp Letterman, the large field hospital established in late July 1863 to care for soldiers too seriously wounded to be […]

Help save 17 acres at Camp Letterman hospital site in Gettysburg: Part I

Buzzing inbound to Gettysburg on busy Route 30 (a.k.a. the York Pike or the York Road), visitors headed for Gettysburg National Military Park zip past a lonely monument located diagonally across the road from Hoss’s Restaurant and McDonald’s, about halfway between both driveway entrances. Backdropped by slightly rising fields, woods, Pennsylvania’s ubiquitous power lines, and […]

Confederate pirate merrily loots and burns a Maine ship

A Confederate “pirate” — as the Northern press deemed him — so detested abolitionists that he really enjoyed burning a ship from a state he equated with the anti-slavery Republican Party. In spring 1861, Confederate Navy Commander Raphael Semmes received command of the CSS Sumter, a 473-ton, steam-powered merchant ship recently bought by the Confederate […]

The right man at the right time for governor — Part II

  Thirteen days before his inauguration as Maine’s 29th governor, Israel Washburn Jr. got an inkling of what might happen after he took office: South Carolina bolted the Union, and a low-level national buzz about war suddenly turned serious. And exactly 100 days after Washburn was sworn in at the State House in Augusta, war […]

The right man at the right time for governor — Part I

  New Year’s Day 1863 gets some attention in American history books because the Emancipation Proclamation took affect that Thursday. But what happened six days later, on Wednesday, January 7? Not much on the national level, Civil War-wise, but a momentous event took place at the State House in Augusta. Maine’s first wartime governor, the […]

A looting we will go!

Given the opportunity to join the looters pillaging shattered Fredericksburg in Virginia, the respectable Dr. Nahum P. Monroe grabbed what plunder he could. And he admitted that he had done so. Well after sunset on Monday, Dec. 15, 1862, Monroe (the chief surgeon of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment) rousted at least 20-25 wounded Union […]

A quiet country doctor from Maine confronts the horrors of war

  Confederate artillery shells whistling overhead, nearby explosions shaking the damaged house in which a senior Union officer had placed a field hospital, Army surgeons amputated shattered limbs, sewed blood-spurting arteries, and, between patients, wiped blood-covered hands on blood-pocked aprons. Sometimes Dr. Nahum P. Monroe, the senior surgeon of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment, stood, […]

We fight “because one should love his country the best of all”

  He had survived the slaughter at Fredericksburg, the “Mud March,” and a winter so cold and deadly that at least one historian would describe it as the equivalent of Valley Forge for the miserably sullen Army of the Potomac. So why did he stay with the standards? Other Union soldiers had deserted during winter […]

“You will guard this river by standing in it”

  Perhaps frightened — and at least worried — three privates from Co. C, 8th Maine Infantry Regiment, sensed the enemy approaching late one cold winter’s night in Georgia. Surely their captain would not leave them out here to face an enemy impervious to bayonets and bullets, would he? For some reason, Capt. John E. […]

Cemetery of Flies — Part II

The stench grew as Col. Harris Plaisted and an 11th Maine Infantry companion known only as “S” approached the front lines west of Seven Pines, Va. on Friday, June 19, 1862.* Here, on Saturday, May 31, Maj. Robert F. Campbell of Cherryfield had brought companies A, C, and F out of the 11th Maine camp […]