Tag Archives: 20th Maine Infantry

Gettysburg Burning

Why was Gettysburg burning? Had Confederate Brig. Gen. John McCausland burned the town down as effectively as he did nearby Chambersburg in late July 1864? Not quite. Smoke still wisped amidst the now ashen undergrowth as I stepped onto the summit of Little Round Top on Wednesday, April 12. Brilliant redbud blossoms had brightened the “back […]

His hometown of Hodgdon extends a hero’s funeral to Jewett Williams – Part 1

Jewett B. Williams, late of Co. H of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment, received a hearty welcome as he came marching home to his native Hodgdon on Saturday, Sept. 24. Approximately 200 people greeted Jewett — he’s on a first-name basis in this southern Aroostook County town — as he rolled into Hodgdon Mills thunderously […]

Would Jewett Williams like chicken McNuggets with his Happy Meal?

An inquisitive 4-year-old Mainer wonders if Jewett Williams, the Maine Civil War veteran whose peripatetic journey from Oregon to Maine has garnered attention internationally, would like chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s. If not, would Jewett at least want a Happy Meal? A few days before Jewett arrived at Kittery, Maine Patriot Guards ride captain Mike Edgecomb […]

Burial of returned Civil War vet Jewett Williams will shift from Togus to Hodgdon

  Apparently abandoned by his immediate family after his death in 1922, Maine Civil War veteran Jewett Williams has been commandeered by distant relatives prior to his burial in 2016 … … and the volunteers responsible for respectfully transporting his cremains from Oregon to Maine are unhappy about the bombshell dropped during today’s ceremony honoring […]

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 […]

Finding the dead at Gettysburg

Twenty-four days after arriving at Gettysburg, Dr. Albion Cobb of the 4th Maine Infantry finally left his patients long enough to explore “the field of battle.” On Saturday, July 25, Cobb walked across the terrain defended by Union troop and gazed in astonishment at the soldiers still there. “I find the whole country planted with […]

Appomattox Road: “We at once charged him with lying” — disbelief on April 9, 1865

  John Haley, the scrappy private from Saco, disbelieved the news that “an inveterate newsmonger” delivered to the 17th Maine Infantry Regiment around 10:30 a.m., Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865. Heading ever westward, Haley and his Co. I comrades had tramped, tramped, tramped their weary way west across southern Virginia the previous day. Up and […]

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 […]