Tag Archives: Israel Washburn

Blanket Brigade: Forming the regiment

  In early April 1862, United States Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas ordered that recruiting cease in the loyal states. On April 3, Maine Adjutant General John Hodsdon issued General Order No. 11, directing that “all officers and others engaged” in “Volunteer recruiting service in this state” should “close their several offices and [points of] rendezvous.” […]

A Hamlin could get away with cowardice

If he did not skedaddle from Manassas in late day on Sunday, July 21, 1861, then why did Augustus Choate Hamlin expend so much ink explaining why he was not a coward? Thanks to his vice-presidential uncle, Hamlin enjoyed a distinguished surname that fateful spring. A doctor by profession and a Republican by choice, he […]

Isabella Fogg investigated reports of Army mistreatment of wounded Union soldiers

    Isabella Fogg had already encountered the horrors of war when the slaughter known as Antietam took place on Sept. 17, 1862. Then Fogg discovered the hell that is war. Surnamed Morrison, her parents had emigrated to New Brunswick from Scotland before Isabella’s birth in 1823. Practically a child bride when she married William […]

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 […]

A dead horse and a foot wound ruined Black Hawk’s Day

  A Confederate ambush in the Shenandoah Valley shot a Black Hawk down in May 1862. Putnams helped settle Houlton, and to John Varnum and Elizabeth Putnam a son was born on April 28, 1838. Six years earlier a Sauk chief had led several Indians tribes in a brief and tragic war against the United […]

“The Girl I Left Behind Me”

We associate certain music with the Civil War: “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Dixie,” “Bonnie Blue Flag,” “Marching Through Georgia (actually published in 1866),” and the “Battle Cry of Freedom.” Among my favorites is the jaunty ode to “The Girl I Left Behind Me,” supposedly sung by a Confederate soldier who can’t wait to return […]

A horse here, a horse there, the 1st thing you know, you’ve got a cavalry regiment

Among the storied Maine outfits deployed against Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was the 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment. No cavalry history of the Army of the Potomac would be complete without repeated mention of the 1st Maine Cav. But this hard-fighting regiment did not exist in spring or summer 1861. In fact, the […]