Tag Archives: Shenandoah Valley

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 […]

The Long March

“Tramp, tramp, tramp the boys are marching” in late June 1863 as Joseph Hooker and the Army of the Potomac chased the Pennsylvania-bound Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. Somewhere on the wretched Piedmont roads tramped the men belonging to the 5th Maine Infantry Regiment, mustered into federal service at Portland two […]

A dead horse and a foot wound ruined Black Hawk’s Day

  A Confederate ambush in the Shenandoah Valley shot a Black Hawk down in May 1862. Putnams helped settle Houlton, and to John Varnum and Elizabeth Putnam a son was born on April 28, 1838. Six years earlier a Sauk chief had led several Indians tribes in a brief and tragic war against the United […]

Maine cavalrymen “saw the elephant” on April 15, 1862

    Masked batteries drove Capt. Robert F. Dyer and his patrol bonkers on Tuesday, April 15, 1862. For Dyer and his neophyte cavalrymen from various towns in Maine, the experience caused them to “see the elephant,” a Civil War term that referred to soldiers being under enemy fire and participating in combat. Early that […]

A horse here, a horse there, the 1st thing you know, you’ve got a cavalry regiment

Among the storied Maine outfits deployed against Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was the 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment. No cavalry history of the Army of the Potomac would be complete without repeated mention of the 1st Maine Cav. But this hard-fighting regiment did not exist in spring or summer 1861. In fact, the […]