Tag Archives: Oliver Otis Howard

A wild flower collected from a soldier’s grave

  Fifty-eight years before the first Armistice Day observance in the United States, a compassionate Bath nurse visited the grave of a young Maine soldier in Washington, D.C. Sarah Sampson also ensured that a brigadier general would not forget John W. Campbell, who had fought in one battle before losing his life. Hailing from Livermore, […]

“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 5th Maine Infantry’s “galvanized Rebel” — Part I

  In tracing their Civil War ancestry, some folks discover (to paraphrase the title of Tony Horwitz’s delightful 1998 book) that they have a “Confederate or Yankee in the Attic”: The family’s connection to the Civil War wore Union blue or Confederate gray.A And then there are the fortunate Civil War descendants, like Elizabeth Kane […]

Locked and Loaded in Baltimore

Friendly receptions drew loud “huzzahs” as the 3rd Maine Infantry Regiment headed south to the war zone in early June 1861. And then there was Baltimore. Beneath “a cloudless sky,” the 3rd Maine boys left Augusta by train on Wednesday, June 5, 1861, recalled Col. Oliver Otis Howard, the professional soldier from Leeds who had […]

Mutineers could drive an officer crazy

Deserters were not the only man-made plague that drove Maine officers crazy during the Civil War; independent-minded Maine soldiers might mutiny, too, if they so decided. Patriotic fervor swept the Midcoast in mid-April 1861. A business partner with Hiram Berry, Elijah Walker sold coal and lumber in Rockland, recently split from Thomaston and designated the […]

Civil War lore comfirmed as a historical fact

The Civil War created many legends, from the eccentric VMI professor transformed into “Stonewall” Jackson to the borderline alcoholic and military strategist — Ulysses Simpson Grant — who whipped Southern troops wherever he encountered them. And the war generated a historical lore that, to this day, requires historians to sift fact from legend. One event […]

“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 […]