Tag Archives: Petersburg

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Crater sent a monster home to Turner: Part 3

  Moments after a Confederate bullet struck him in the face, 2nd Lt. James J. Chase tumbled downslope to sprawl among his 32nd Maine Infantry Regiment comrades. Vaguely seeing Capt. Joseph Hammond beside him, Chase said, “Captain, I must die.” “Yes, Chase, you have a death shot,” Hammond replied. As comrades checked on him, Chase […]

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 […]

Maine’s ‘Heavies” charged to the gates of hell: Part II

For a brief moment in mid-June 1864, Union troops could have swept through the wide-open doors of Petersburg to capture that Virginia city and its key railroads. Confederate troops would have fled Richmond, and the Army of the Potomac might have caught and destroyed the Army of Northern Virginia somewhere during that retreat. But Union […]

Maine’s Band Box Soldiers’ endured veterans’ scorn: Part I

  There stands at Petersburg National Battlefield a name-laden monument to a shattered regiment, the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery. Located slightly off the beaten National Park Service path, the monument honors the “604 brave members who fell charging here” on a late spring afternoon in ’64. Two bronze markers inset in the monument’s rear face […]