Tag Archives: David Birney

A nurse goes to war, Part 4: “We finished our rounds in double quick time”

On Wednesday, June 25, 1862 Union troops fought their last offensive action of the Peninsula Campaign at the Battle of Oak Grove. Federal regiments racked up casualties and accomplished precious little in the swamps west and southwest of Seven Pines, Va. “We had heard firing all the morning and knew what must follow,” said Bath […]

“Boom!” goes the colonel’s career

  Did Elijah Walker blow a future promotion on a quiet night outside Yorktown, Va. in April 1862? Only if he shot off his mouth after a Confederate shot off a cannon that night. A 42-year-old Rockland coal-and-lumber merchant in spring 1861, Walker decided the join the 4th Infantry Regiment being raised by his business […]

Spotsylvania Part VI: A rooster’s crow unleashed the slaughter

Wandering amidst hell on earth after sunrise on Friday, May 13, 1864, Pvt. John Haley and other survivors of the 17th Maine Infantry Regiment gazed upon “more dead than we had ever seen,” he later told his journal. Raised in summer 1862, the 17th Maine belonged that spring to the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, part […]

A Tale of Two Captains

  Edwin Batchelder ran away and lived — but he should have died. John Ayer stayed and died — but he should have lived. Thus occurred the tale of two captains at Fredericksburg. Hailing from Augusta, Batchelder (also spelled “Bachelder”) raised Co. B for the 3rd Maine Infantry Regiment and, as a captain, led it […]