The mud and muck of Pulaski, Part III

The 8th Maine Infantry soldiers guarding the Union artillery batteries placed upriver from Fort Pulaski helped prevent Confederate reinforcements from reaching that post, but could not shell it into submission. To do that, Army engineer Capt. Quincy A. Gillmore needed artillery placed on Union-held Tybee Island at the mouth of the Savannah River. Working “in […]

The mud and muck of Pulaski, Part II

Seldom in the experience of Maine soldiers had such idiocy been demanded of them. On Feb. 14, 1862, Lt. Col. Ephraim Woodman and five companies of the 8th Maine Infantry Regiment reported to U.S. Army engineer Egbert Viele on Daufuskie Island, about 5 miles from Fort Pulaski on the Savannah River in Georgia. Viele was […]

The mud and muck of Pulaski, Part I

Just like the graffiti character “Kilroy,” Mainers were everywhere during the Civil War, despite the modern belief that the Pine Tree State boys showed up only at Gettysburg. First Manassas? Check (Hiram Berry, Charles Tilden, and a few thousand etceteras more). Shiloh? Check (Comanche fighter Stephen Decatur Carpenter and a Maine youngster captured in Confederate […]

Waterville veterans wanted a bronze Citizen Soldier

My lovely wife has patiently toured so many Civil War battlefields, she claims that “when you’ve seen one cannon, you’ve seen them all.” Pertaining to all the green-hued 12-pounder Napoleons scattered from Gettysburg to Vicksburg and Malvern Hill and back, she’s right. She could also say the same for many Civil War monuments in Maine. […]

Bring a crane to take down Bowdoinham’s Civil War monument

If Mainers ever decide to tear down their own Civil War monuments, removing Bowdoinham’s will take a small crane, at least. In Bowdoinham on Merrymeeting Bay, residents waited until early in the 20th century to create a Civil War monument. “A committee … composed of W.B. Kendall, F.H. Purington, and J.L. Brown” set about “selecting […]

Black or white or both, he made a good Maine soldier, Part II

On June 16, 1862, a New Orleans businessman named B. Bronson discovered that his “light mulatto” slave, Calvin, had run away. With Union troops occupying the Big Easy, Bronson probably figured he would never see Calvin again. An enigmatic character, the “B Bronson” recorded in the June 28, 1860 census of “free inhabitants” of the […]

Black or white or both, he made a good Maine soldier, Part I

Franklin S. Nickerson knew a darn good soldier when he saw one, whether he was black or white or both. Four Maine infantry regiments — the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th — and the 1st Maine Battery went to New Orleans, Louisiana with Ben Butler in spring 1862. The Maine boys loved the fresh fruit […]

Charlottesville casts a long shadow

Charlottesville’s shadow swirled briefly around a Maine monument in mid-August. Our gorgeous state boasts some 150 Civil War-related monuments of different shapes and styles. I’m photographing as many as possible this fine summer, so on a perfect-weather August weekday, we headed north to Lincoln. This former mill town (it’s still hard to imagine the paper […]

Mother, wife, and Belfast intelligence agent, Part III

Ann Sarah Monroe had not traveled from Belfast, Maine to Tidewater Virginia solely to visit her husband in late winter 1863. Charged with gathering crucial intelligence, she also came as an agent representing the Ladies’ Volunteer Aid Society of Belfast Ann particularly wanted to see the Army of the Potomac hospitals for which the ladies […]

Mother, wife, and Belfast intelligence agent, Part II

Doffing their kepis to the almost middle-aged matron arriving at the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment’s camp in Virginia’s Stafford County around March 1, 1863, soldiers quietly speculated about her identity. Regimental surgeon Dr. Nahum Parker Monroe ended the conjecture as, observing proper mid-19th century’s etiquette, he dispassionately greeted his 42-year-old wife, Ann Sarah Monroe. Weary […]