Stoneman’s Raid: the 1st Maine troopers find their moxie

Day after day in the latter half of April 1863, inclement weather and heavy rain delayed the departure of Maj. Gen. George Stoneman and his Army of the Potomac cavalry on a deep-penetration into central Virginia, behind the lines of the Army of Northern Virginia. Only after an April 27 chewing out by Joe Hooker […]

Stoneman’s Raid: rain, rain go away, plague the cavalry another day

Despite their 14 months in the war zone, the 1st Maine Cavalry troopers had “never met the enemy’s cavalry in any force” by spring 1863, said 2nd Lt. Charles W. Ford, a 27-year-old shipmaster from Bristol when he enlisted in autumn 1861 as a sergeant. Until his late January sacking as commander of the Army […]

Maine cavalrymen charge across a bridge and bring home the bacon

The first serious 1863 skirmish between the 1st Maine Cavalry and Confederate troops resulted in a 1-0 win for the Maine boys, ham-wise. Leaving their winter camp near Belle Plain, Virginia on Monday, April 13, 1863, troopers of the 1st Maine rode almost 20 miles to camp at Deep Run, then pushed upriver on Tuesday, […]

Bully boys, hey! Bully boys, ho!

They spoiled for a fight. Edward Parsons Tobie Jr., a corporal in Co. G, 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment, figured “the spring campaign” officially began when the regiment left its wretched winter quarters at Camp Bayard near Belle Plain in Virginia’s Stafford County on Monday, April 13, 1863. His company, plus K, formed the rear guard […]

Research the Civil War at the Maine State Archives

If you’re researching Maine’s involvement in the Civil War, check out the incredibly detailed files preserved at the Maine State Archives in Augusta. There’s a whole Research Room available for your use. The Archives, the Maine State Library, and the Maine State Museum are all located in the State Cultural Building, the sharp-lined, monochromatic gray […]

Oh, bury me not among the Unknowns

Our heroes cry out, “Do you know who I am?” — and but for a bit of bronze or lead or a pencil-scrawled name on a slip of paper, we might. Twice during the Civil War did Union infantrymen charged Marye’s Heights on the western edge of Fredericksburg. Only once did the Yankees (including the […]

Very fake news about a very real veteran

For Civil War veteran Benjamin E. West, answering the “last call” had nothing to do with bellying up to the bar in a local tavern just before closing time. He literally “answered the last bugle call” on Tuesday, October 24, 1922 — and the obituary published before his body had barely cooled contained very fake […]

The mud and muck of Pulaski, Part IV

As the 36 Union artillery pieces embedded in the Tybee Island muck fired on Confederate-held Fort Pulaski on Thursday, April 10, the 8th Maine Infantry soldiers hastily trained as artillerists soon proved they could shoot as well as professional gunners. Army engineer Capt. Quincy A. Gillmore had anticipated that the Union’s carefully sited 13-inch mortars […]

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 […]