Five historic Maine infantry regiments will be honored during “We Are Coming, Father Abraham,” a large-scale Civil War re-enactment slated to take place August 24-26 at the Good Will Hinckley School on Route 201 in Fairfield. Sponsored by the Maine Living History Association, the re-enactment will be the largest in Maine in 2012.
After President Abraham Lincoln called for another 300,000 volunteers to fight the Confederacy in July 1862, “the patriotic sons of Maine responded with such enthusiasm that the state exceeded her quota of four regiments by raising five,” said Miss Rose, the event organizer.
Those five infantry regiments were the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th, all destined for glory on distant battlefields. Particularly invited to attend the MLHA re-enactment are descendants of soldiers who served with those regiments. Descendants can “enlist” under their ancestors’ names and can bring “memorabilia they can display and talk about,” Rose said.
Other visitors can “adopt a soldier for the day,” she said. “These soldiers will be the men of the five regiments who answered Lincoln’s call.” Each visitor will learn about “their” adopted soldier and sign his name in the official Roll Book by tracing over his name as he wrote it 150 years ago. Visitors will then “fall in with the soldiers on the field as the brave soldiers swear their allegiance to the Union,” she said.
According to Rose, re-enactors are excited about holding the three-day event at Good Will Hinckley School, which she described as “a sprawling 2,400-acre campus full of fields, streams, and woods.” Re-enactors will stage battles and skirmishes within an 800-by-1,200-foot rectangle that effectively recreates terrain that Maine soldiers encountered in Virginia. Spectators will be able to watch the action from nearby areas.
Among the organizations planning to participate are re-enactors, historians, soldiers’ descendants, a Navy landing party, the L.C. Bates Museum (located at Good Will Hinckley School), the Skowhegan History House, civilian groups, and artillery, cavalry, and infantry units.
The Maine Public Broadcasting Network will film the MLHA re-enactment as part of the network’s “Maine at Gettysburg” production, slated for release in 2013.
For more information about “We Are Coming, Father Abraham,” log onto gwh2012.civilwarmaine.org.