Tag Archives: 1st Maine Cavalry

Houlton residents honor a brave native son on July 4, 1862

About 1½ months after Confederate infantrymen almost did him in at Middleton in the Shenandoah Valley, Capt. Black Hawk Putnam found out what his friends and neighbors in Houlton thought about him. Turned out to be quite a bit, about a hundred dollars’ worth. Named after an American Indian chief, Black Hawk Putnam had raised […]

Levant soldier followed Greeley’s advice to “go West, young man”

  As did so many other Maine soldiers, a 19-year-old cavalryman from Levant who helped shove Confederate troops from their Petersburg defenses discovered that greater economic opportunity lay elsewhere than Maine after the Civil War. Born in Levant on December 6, 1845, Perley Lowe grew up in a decidedly rural Maine. Most men found employment […]

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 will fight our way back to the regiment!” — Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Five Forks

  Withdrawn from its White Oak Road earthworks after dark on Friday, March 31, 1865, the weary soldiers of the 5th Corps “about-faced” and went after Five Forks on April Fool’s Day … … and, in a master stroke attributable to sloppy reconnaissance, emerged onto the road leading to Appomattox Court House. Saturday’s clear, cold, […]

Appomattox Road: “The awful tide was rolling toward us” — Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Battle of White Oak Road

  “Daylight dawned, cold, wet, and cheerless” in the 20th Maine Infantry’s temporary camp west of Petersburg, Va. on Thursday, March 30, 1865, said Pvt. Theodore Gerrish of Co. H. The previous day, elements of the 1st Division, 5th Corps, Army of the Potomac, had captured the Confederate earthworks stretching across the Quaker Road near […]

Appomattox Road: “A heavy blow struck me just above the left breast” — Joshua Chamberlain at Quaker Road

  The end was approaching. By late March 1865, “we felt sure that he (Ulysses Simpson Grant) was preparing some great movement, and this must be still to the left, to cut [Robert E.] Lee’s communications and envelop his existing lines,” said Brig. Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th […]

“Hell, no, you can’t make me go”

Maine soldiers dissatisfied with any aspect of military life — much less getting shot at — often voted with their feet by abandoning flag and comrades to find safety far from Civil War battlefields. Desertion plagued armies North and South throughout the war. The reasons why men vanished from their regimental ranks varied with the […]

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 […]

A hero charges to dusty glory at Aldie

  The sword-wielding Calvin Douty charged to glory in a Virginia dust cloud in mid-June 1863. Born in Sangerville, Douty lived in Dover when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter. He had served two terms as the Piscataquis County sheriff; in April 1861 Douty “was then serving in the first year of his third term,” […]

Dead Man Riding

So what could Jonathan Cilley do after catching a cannon ball? Die? Yup — or so thought everyone back home in Thomaston. Born on Dec. 29, 1835 to Jonathan Longfellow Cilley and his wife, Deborah, the boy who became a Maine cavalry officer graduated from Bowdoin College (’58) and gained admittance to the Knox County […]