Tag Archives: Maine

Did Daniel Chaplin develop a death wish?

  Did Col. Daniel Chaplin lose his desire to live after watching the annihilation of his beloved 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment at Petersburg on Saturday, June 18, 1864? Yes, surmised Pvt. Joel Brown of Orono and Co. I. And Chaplin’s own behavior suggests the behavior of a man who cared not if he lived […]

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 […]

Meet the Heroes of Evergreen Cemetery: Part II

  Approximately 1,400 Civil War veterans — I call them “heroes,” if only because they fought to preserve our country — lie buried at Evergreen Cemetery on Stevens Avenue in Portland. On a recent sunny, warm summer’s day, Friends of Evergreen docent Lin Brown introduced me to about 50 of them. We toured the 239-acre […]

Meet the Heroes of Evergreen Cemetery: Part I

  Nowhere else in Maine can people meet so many Civil War veterans than at Evergreen Cemetery, located at 672 Stevens Ave., in Portland — — and through its well-organized docent tours, the Friends of Evergreen are anxious to make the introductions. Through the mid-19th century, burials gradually filled Eastern Cemetery and Western Cemetery in […]

Great violence happened here in bucolic Spotsylvania County

Mainers visiting the Spotsylvania Court House battlefield will find no monuments dedicated to Pine Tree State regiments. A few Union monuments stand here; the first encountered by visitors is the John Sedgwick monument at the intersection of Brock Road and Grant Drive. The low-key monument marks the spot where the Sixth Corps commander offered himself […]

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 […]

Young officer paid terrible price when 32nd Maine charged The Crater: Part 2

  When the Union mine dug beneath a Confederate fort atop Cemetery Hill at Petersburg failed to explode on schedule on July 30, 1864, 17-year-old 2nd Lt. James J. Chase of Turner fell asleep. “I was soon wrapped in slumber, forgetful of what was going on around me, when suddenly I was awakened” by the […]

17-year-old lieutenant waited for a Union mine to explode: Part 1

  The massive explosion that shook James J. Chase awake at Petersburg followed him home to Maine. Hailing from Turner, the 16-year-old Chase joined the war effort in August 1863. Showing talent and leadership capabilities, he received a commission and a transfer to the 32nd Maine Infantry in late winter 1864 as a second lieutenant […]

Spring gales almost sank the 2nd Maine Cav

Two terrifying ocean storms almost turned a Confederate dream into reality in early spring 1864: wiping out some 300 Maine cavalrymen before they ever fired a shot. In mid-March, troopers from three 2nd Maine Cavalry Regiment companies — A, B, and D — started loading their horses aboard two transports docked at Portland. Orders called […]

Three bold Confederates strolled into a Calais bank

Fidgeting with his revolver earned George Foster a dubious and obscure footnote in Civil War history. By summer 1864, Confederate agents based in Canada dreamed and schemed about carrying the war to the Union home front. Still a British possession, Canada was a neutral territory across which Confederate and Union spies and counterspies danced — […]