Tag Archives: Jonathan Prince Cilley

Horsemen in the Valley: Part III — The “Middletown Disaster”

After losing precious daylight and time to an upstart cavalry officer from Maine, Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson swiftly turned the tables at Middletown, Va. on Saturday, May 24, 1862. Commanding a cavalry battalion comprising five companies from the 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment and two companies from the 1st Vermont Cavalry Regiment, Lt. Col. […]

Horsemen in the Shenandoah: Part II — Piscataquis County sheriff vs. Stonewall Jackson

  On May 9, 1862, the five 1st Maine Cavalry companies assigned to the “Railroad Brigade” of Col. Dixon Miles received orders from him to “March forthwith via Winchester to New Market” in the Shenandoah Valley and “wait for nobody, but be in haste.” The War Department had assigned Maj. Gen. Nathanial Banks and his […]

Horsemen in the Shenandoah: Part I — God sends Company B to finish Creation

  The first “secesh” women that a 1st Maine Cavalry trooper encountered in April 1862 deep in the Potomac Highlands were so “homely” that he was jubilant to “be a native of my prided State.” And no one back home in Maine should get the trooper going about the rugged terrain into which the War […]

Appomattox Road: “We waited for morning and Gen. Lee’s army” — April 9, 1865

  Shortly after sunset on Saturday, April 8, 1865, a few dozen 1st Maine Cavalry troopers and their weary horses vanished into the Virginia darkness near Appomattox Station, a major stop on the Southside Railroad linking Petersburg with Lynchburg. The troopers went foraging for food and fodder while their comrades remained near the station. Suddenly […]

Appomattox Road: “We wanted to be there when the rebels found the last ditch” — Pursuit

  As the sun rose daily in early April 1865, the Maine boys pursuing Robert E. Lee’s disintegrating army sensed that the jig was almost up — and the thought of final victory buoyed their morale. “The end seemed close at hand,” recalled 1st Lt. Robert Brady Jr. of the 11th Maine Infantry. Only a […]

Appomattox Road: Cavalry fight at Dinwiddie – Part II: “A first-class wild-cat show coming up”

  Jonathan Prince Cilley received short notice about the Confederate surprise attack that almost “rolled up” the 2nd Division, U.S. Cavalry Corps, about suppertime on Friday, March 31, 1865. Throughout the afternoon, his 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment had held the division’s far left flank while strung out along the east bank of Chamberlain’s Run, a […]

Appomattox Road: Cavalry fight at Dinwiddie – Part I: “The sharp, heavy volleys heard over the hill”

  Sent to capture an obscure Southside Virginia crossroads in late March 1865, Phil Sheridan botched the assignment — and the 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment saved him from an embarrassing defeat. Ulysses Simpson Grant sent Sheridan to make an end run around the left flank of Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. […]

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 […]