Charged up to fight: 4th Maine Battery at Cedar Mountain — Part I

  Capt. O’Neil W. Robinson Jr. had yet to see a serious “elephant” as his 4th Maine Battery crossed hot and dusty Virginia in July 1862. Robinson, the Bethel attorney whose Democratic Party leanings had concerned Maine’s Republican Gov. Israel Washburn Jr. the previous autumn, had detrained with his battery in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, […]

Maine to New York: “Get your own artillerymen!”

  Reading the report he addressed to Gov. Israel Washburn Jr. on July 18, 1862, you can just “see” the steam venting from the ears of Maj. Robert F. Campbell. The 6-foot, 45-year-old Cherryfield lumberman was livid. Third in command of the 11th Maine Infantry Regiment, he was filling in for the ill Col. Harris […]

Father and son lie in separate unmarked graves in Maine and North Carolina

  Do the father-and-son Mainers who went off to save the Union both lie in unmarked graves? Tracey McIntire of Maryland is not sure where the father lies, but she has visited the burial site of the son — and it’s definitely not marked with his name, no thanks to the Veterans Administration. Henry Herrick […]

Sarah Sampson hurtled three stairwells and the Secretary of State to meet President Abraham Lincoln

  Neither the weariness of her all-night vigil caring for wounded soldiers nor social propriety kept a demure Bath nurse from making her self-appointed introduction to President Abraham Lincoln — — and nor could Secretary of State William Seward. When Oliver Otis Howard took the 3rd Maine Infantry Regiment to Washington, D.C. in early June […]

The “Coward of the County” redeems his honor

Perhaps his shame led William R. Bubar of Eaton Grant (merged with an adjacent township to form Lyndon in 1859) to assume a nom de guerre when he finally joined the war effort. At the request of my sweet wife, we attended the Kenny Rogers concert last December in Bangor. Rogers sang many of his […]

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 […]