Tag Archives: Petersburg

A descendant seeks her Maine Civil War hero at Poplar Grove National Cemetery

Editor’s note: Dawn Langton of Florida is a great-great granddaughter of Willard Greenleaf Delano, who mustered with the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment in Bangor in 1863 and died at Petersburg on June 18, 1864. This is the tale of her search for her ancestor’s burial site. By Dawn Langton A new family was born […]

Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated: Joshua Chamberlain

Selden E. Connor had already earned his brigadier general’s stars when shot and seriously wounded at The Wilderness on May 6, 1864. Back home in Maine, the promotion seemed a proper reward for a man who soon gave his life for his country … according to inaccurate reports. Despite attempts by generals Gouvernor K. Warren […]

Father and son lie in separate unmarked graves in Maine and North Carolina

  Do the father-and-son Mainers who went off to save the Union both lie in unmarked graves? Tracey McIntire of Maryland is not sure where the father lies, but she has visited the burial site of the son — and it’s definitely not marked with his name, no thanks to the Veterans Administration. Henry Herrick […]

Appomattox Road: “The news spread through the city like wild-fire” — Portlanders celebrate on April 10, 1865

  The first week of April 1865 coincided with the happiest — and likely most accurate — headlines that residents of Portland (Maine) had read in four years. “Glorious News,” the John Adams-edited “Eastern Argus” proclaimed on page 2 on Tuesday, April 4. “The Rebel Capital Fallen! Petersburg in our Possession. The Stars and Stripes […]

Appomattox Road: “We will fight our way back to the regiment!” — Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Five Forks

  Withdrawn from its White Oak Road earthworks after dark on Friday, March 31, 1865, the weary soldiers of the 5th Corps “about-faced” and went after Five Forks on April Fool’s Day … … and, in a master stroke attributable to sloppy reconnaissance, emerged onto the road leading to Appomattox Court House. Saturday’s clear, cold, […]

Appomattox Road: “The awful tide was rolling toward us” — Chamberlain and the 20th Maine at Battle of White Oak Road

  “Daylight dawned, cold, wet, and cheerless” in the 20th Maine Infantry’s temporary camp west of Petersburg, Va. on Thursday, March 30, 1865, said Pvt. Theodore Gerrish of Co. H. The previous day, elements of the 1st Division, 5th Corps, Army of the Potomac, had captured the Confederate earthworks stretching across the Quaker Road near […]

Appomattox Road: “A heavy blow struck me just above the left breast” — Joshua Chamberlain at Quaker Road

  The end was approaching. By late March 1865, “we felt sure that he (Ulysses Simpson Grant) was preparing some great movement, and this must be still to the left, to cut [Robert E.] Lee’s communications and envelop his existing lines,” said Brig. Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th […]

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. […]

Appomattox Road: You have read of Virginia rainstorms and Virginia mud

Reading the letters that her brother, Daniel Withum Sawtelle, wrote from Virginia in January and February 1865, Caroline Sophronia Murphy developed a good idea about what passed for winter in Virginia. The widowed Murphy often traded letters with Daniel, born in Minot in April 1838 and raised in Township 3, Range 5 in southwestern Aroostook […]

Appomattox Road: The solemn-faced nincompoop soon returned

  Winter 1865 found John Haley of Saco serving with the 17th Maine Infantry Regiment in the Union lines southwest of Petersburg. He and his Co. I comrades alternated their duty between the monotony and military regimen of camp life and dangerous duty at picket posts much nearer Confederate lines. “A new year dawns, the […]