All posts by Brian Swartz

Brian Swartz

About Brian Swartz

Welcome to "Maine at War," the blog about the roles played by Maine and her sons and daughters in the Civil War. I am a Civil War buff and a newspaper editor recently retired from the Bangor Daily News. Maine sent hero upon hero — soldiers, nurses, sailors, chaplains, physicians — south to preserve their country in the 1860s. “Maine at War” introduces these heroes and heroines, who, for the most part, upheld the state's honor during that terrible conflict. We tour the battlefields where they fought, and we learn about the Civil War by focusing on Maine’s involvement with it. Be prepared: As I discover to this very day, the facts taught in American classrooms don’t always jibe with Civil War reality. I can be reached at visionsofmaine@tds.net.

Tour the Gettysburg battlefield on a horse-drawn carriage

On your next trip to Gettysburg, consider traveling back in time by exploring the battlefield via a 19th-century conveyance: a horse-drawn carriage. Owned by Rachel Stephens and operated in conjunction with her husband, Doug, and other family members, the Victorian Carriage Company offers different battlefield tours, including carriage rides and walking tours in Gettysburg town […]

Shoot out at Marianna

His repeater carbine firing fast, Edward H. Cushman, sergeant, 2nd Maine Cavalry, limped away from a shoot out with multiple Confederates at Marianna, Fla. on Tuesday, September 27, 1864. While not an Old West duel-in-the-streets with six guns blazin’ and admiring ladies watching from the store-front windows, the results were the same: bodies and blood […]

British and Maine troops shipped from Eastport 43 years apart

Historical memory runs deep in Eastport, Maine’s easternmost city. Enduring a four-year British occupation connected to the War of 1812, a “throng of spectators” gave “six hearty cheers” when British troops departed Eastport on Sunday, June 30, 1818. Exactly 200 years later, a few hundred Eastport residents and visitors applauded as the British left Maine’s […]

Drums on the Penobscot returns to Bangor August 10-12

The Civil War will come to life as the Bangor Historical Society presents Drums on the Penobscot at the UMA-Bangor campus on Friday-Sunday, August 10-12, 2018. Held in July 2017, the inaugural Drums on the Penobscot drew several hundred visitors to tour a Civil War encampment, meet with re-enactors portraying Union and Confederate soldiers, watch […]

Hannibal running

We can cancel the 154-year-old APB on Hannibal Augustus Johnson, on the lam from Confederate authorities since escaping from Camp Sorghum in Columbia, S.C. in 1864. Johnson has turned up in Cincinnati, of all places. A Hallowell resident, the 20-year-old Johnson mustered on June 4, 1861 as a corporal in Co. B, 3rd Maine Infantry […]

Breaks my heart to see my poor boy with one arm

The sight of his one-armed son after the Battle of Cedar Mountain almost broke Sgt. Horace Wright, a 42-year-old Auburn resident when he mustered into service with Co. H, 10th Maine Infantry Regiment on Oct. 4, 1861. His 18-year-old son, Lyman H. Wright, mustered into Co. H the next day. But Lyman was actually 16, […]

Film documentary Forlorn Hope debuts Monday, June 18

Building on the success of his epic documentary Sixteenth Maine at Gettysburg, filmmaker Dan Lambert will recall another hard-fighting Maine regiment with the June 18 premiere of Forlorn Hope on MPBN. Focused on the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment, Forlorn Hope will debut at the Alamo Theater in Bucksport at 2 p.m., Monday, June 18 […]

A nurse goes to war, Part 4: “We finished our rounds in double quick time”

On Wednesday, June 25, 1862 Union troops fought their last offensive action of the Peninsula Campaign at the Battle of Oak Grove. Federal regiments racked up casualties and accomplished precious little in the swamps west and southwest of Seven Pines, Va. “We had heard firing all the morning and knew what must follow,” said Bath […]

Memorial Day and the boys of Kenduskeag

It’s easy to miss them, even on a Memorial Day weekend. The boys of Kenduskeag lie quietly, eternally, behind the metal fence separating Village Cemetery from traffic on the adjacent Levant Road. It curves slightly while sliding past the cemetery; a driver paying attention to the road may not really notice this rural cemetery in […]

A nurse goes to war, Part 3: “My mother and my sister … are in the next room”

After arriving at Savage Station on Friday, June 13, 1862, nurses Sarah Sampson of Bath and Ellen Orbison Harris of Philadelphia started caring for sick and wounded Union soldiers. Not all were found in Army hospitals set up near Savage Station. The warm and colorful Virginia spring passed into early summer as the nurses spread […]