Tag Archives: John Hodsdon

“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 […]

The women of Sherman

  The shots fired by Confederate artillery at Fort Sumter in April 1861 echoed as far away as Golden Ridge Plantation in southwestern Aroostook County … … and still echoed four years later when the residents of Sherman — the town which the plantation became on Jan. 28, 1862 — took stock of the high […]

A Christmas gift from God and Abner Coburn

  At Camp Russell south of Winchester, Virginia, Capt. John Mead Gould of Portland and two other 29th Maine Infantry Regiment officers — George H. Nye of Lewiston and Alpheus L. Greene of Portland — received a particularly wonderful Christmas present on Friday, Dec. 23, 1864. The recent promotion of Col. George L. Beal of […]

Mud on the Mules

  Cold rain dripping from his campaign hat, Lt. Col. James “Jim” S. Fillebrown sat squarely in the saddle and watched the mucky chaos engulfing his 10th Maine Infantry Regiment on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 1863. Until three days earlier, Fillebrown and his men had spent the early winter camping near Fairfax Court House in Virginia. […]

The 2nd Maine Cavalry rides again

Long-forgotten Maine cavalrymen ride once more into battle in a Civil War book recently released by Holden author Ned Smith. A few years ago, Airline Community School secretary Joni Archer “asked me what I knew about the 2nd Maine Cavalry,” said Smith, who teaches part time at the Aurora school. “I said, ‘Nothing.’” Archer’s great-grandfather, […]

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 […]


When disease, a wound, or death felled a Maine soldier, his relatives understood the risks inherent with wartime service. They knew his immediate fate. But when a Maine boy went missing, the folks at home could only imagine the worst — and so they did in countless letters addressed to Maine Adjutant General John Hodsdon. […]

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 […]