Tag Archives: Elijah Walker

“My Last Night at Fredericksburg,” a poem

Decades after the bloody fight at Fredericksburg, Va. on Saturday, Dec. 13, 1862, Col. Elijah Walker of the 4th Maine Infantry Regiment penned a poem recalling that unit’s last maneuvers on the battlefield. “My Last Night at Fredericksburg” Walker titled his poem, read by him at the regiment’s 1889 reunion. On Fredericksburg’s field, when fell […]

Joe Hooker takes command, and Maine boys notice, part II

The arrival of Joe Hooker at Army of the Potomac headquarters in late January 1863 stirred interest, trepidation, and many questions. Within weeks he instituted morale-building improvements that restored the army’s elan. “Never was the magic influence of a single man more clearly shown than when Hooker assumed command,” said Capt. Charles P. Mattocks of […]

Young Rockland soldier saves the flag at the Devil’s Den: Part II

Screaming the famous “Rebel yell,” thousands of Confederates rolled east toward Houck’s Ridge and the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg around 4 p.m., Thursday, July 2, 1863. They rolled back a skirmish line comprising the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters and marksmen from the 4th Maine Infantry. The fighting surged toward Devil’s Den and the valley (soon to […]

Young Rockland soldier saves the flag at the Devil’s Den: Part I

If you’ve walked amidst the boulders at the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg, you have crossed paths with a Maine soldier who should have received the Medal of Honor for what he did there. Let me introduce Henry O. Ripley, an obscure hero who stepped onto the Gettysburg stage and emerged unscathed. Confederates should have killed […]

“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 […]

Mutineers could drive an officer crazy

Deserters were not the only man-made plague that drove Maine officers crazy during the Civil War; independent-minded Maine soldiers might mutiny, too, if they so decided. Patriotic fervor swept the Midcoast in mid-April 1861. A business partner with Hiram Berry, Elijah Walker sold coal and lumber in Rockland, recently split from Thomaston and designated the […]

If only Andrew Bean’s trunk could talk

  Sometimes we can almost reach across history and “touch” a Civil War veteran. At least with Andrew Derby Bean from Brooks, we can touch the trunk that he took to war in spring 1861, and if only that trunk could talk, If only the trunk owned by Andrew Derby Bean could talk, the war […]