Tag Archives: Fredericksburg

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 […]

The Long March

“Tramp, tramp, tramp the boys are marching” in late June 1863 as Joseph Hooker and the Army of the Potomac chased the Pennsylvania-bound Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. Somewhere on the wretched Piedmont roads tramped the men belonging to the 5th Maine Infantry Regiment, mustered into federal service at Portland two […]

The 6th Maine’s screaming demons led the way

Frantically loading and firing their rifled muskets, the Mississippi infantrymen defending the stone wall at Fredericksburg about 11:05 a.m. on May 3, 1863, suddenly realized that all the .58-caliber lead bullets in the world would not stop the screaming, wild-eyed berserkers swarming toward them. No matter how many comrades pitched onto the slope below Marye’s […]

Blood-letting at Salem Church

The regimental ranks thinned by 18 men in mid-morning on Sunday, May 3, 1863, the 5th Maine Infantry boys may have figured the fighting was over for the day. For them, the blood-letting had scarcely begun. After Union regiments captured Marye’s Heights that day, orders summoned Col. Clark S. Edwards and the 5th Maine to […]

Death dance with a Confederate cannonball

After enjoying the “beautiful night” that slipped away with the dawn on May 3, 1863, 1st Lt. George Bicknell saw that Sunday turn decidedly ugly. Sheltered by the Virginia darkness, he stood with his 5th Maine Infantry comrades as they waited the orders to attack nearby Confederate troops defending the heights southeast of Fredericksburg. As […]

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 […]

17-year-old soldier charges with the 16th Maine at Fredericksburg

  The 16th Maine boys know that if they charge those distant hills, they will die. So do the Johnnies awaiting them. And today, just 12 days before Christmas 1862, there can’t be a more miserable place to die than on these muddy farm fields about 2 miles downriver from a Virginia town called Fredericksburg. […]

20th Maine survivors hugged Mother Earth at Fredericksburg

Orders sent Col. Adelbert Ames, Lt. Col. Joshua Chamberlain, and the 20th Maine Infantry up the body-strewn slope of Marye’s Heights in late afternoon on Saturday, Dec. 13, 1862. Orders and Confederate bullets kept the surviving Maine boys there until early Monday, Dec. 15. During the human slaughter known as Fredericksburg, Union troops repeatedly ascended […]