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.

Maine Supreme Court strikes down onerous draft-avoidance scheme

Maine Governor Abner Coburn scratched his head after Congress passed in March 1863 a law titled “An Act for enrolling and calling out the national forces and for other purposes.” This law established the national draft, which spawned its own problems by summer 1863. New Yorkers might riot, burn, and kill in the Draft Riots, […]

Send an autographed copy of Maine at War to your favorite Civil War buff this Christmas

With the holidays looming just beyond the Halloween horizon, a personally autographed copy of Maine at War Volume 1: Bladensburg to Sharpsburg is the perfect present for the Civil War buff on your gift list. Released this spring by Epic Saga Publishing, Maine at War Volume 1 tells the story of Maine’s involvement in the […]

1st Maine Heavy Artillery survivor opens a Bar Harbor hotel

From Confederate target to Bar Harbor hotel keeper, such were the fortunes of war and peace for John H. Douglass/ Living in Eden (now Bar Harbor) in 1862, the 21-year-old Douglass married Margarette Higgins of Eden on April 19. A sailor since he had hired on as a $5-per-month cook on a fishing schooner at […]

Artillery back story at Gettysburg, part 4, all hell breaks loose at the seminary

As his North Carolina brigade emerged from McPherson’s Woods outside Gettysburg and started down the swale separating McPherson’s from the Lutheran seminary, all hell broke loose. Opposite on the seminary campus stood a 10-gun Union artillery line, comprising the six bronze Napoleons of Capt. Greenlief T. Stevens and the 5th Maine Battery and the four […]

Artillery back story at Gettysburg, part 3, the cannons stand five yards apart

An artillery officer since joining the 1st New York Light Artillery in October 1861, Col. Charles P. Wainwright knew a fight when he heard it — and “at about 10:30 a.m.,” Wednesday, July 1, he heard a big one. Some two hours earlier on this warm day, Wainwright and his Artillery Brigade had left their […]

Artillery back story at Gettysburg: part 2, the view from the seminary

“Location, location, location” (and Union Col. Charles S. Wainwright, plus a Confederate general) brought Capt. Greenlief T. Stevens and the 5th Maine Battery to the Gettysburg Theological Seminary campus in late morning on Wednesday, July 1, 1863. Located on a slight rise not much taller than a wicked big Maine frost heave (we love the […]

Artillery back story at Gettysburg, part 1

An oxidized cannon and a granite stone have a story to tell. Mainers visiting Gettysburg National Military Park naturally drift to its Maine monuments, usually starting with the 20th Maine Infantry’s modest gray monument on Little Round Top. There are many others,including two monuments to the 5th Maine Battery. So back to that oxidized cannon […]

Volunteers dedicate new 1st Maine Cavalry monument, part 2

Seeking a place to site a 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment monument in northern Virginia, Steve Bunker of Gray “wanted to do something at Aldie,”where the regiment charged Confederate troopers defending a stone wall on June 17, 1863. He envisioned “at the very least a small stone at the stone wall … but the property owner […]

Volunteers dedicate new 1st Maine Cavalry monument, part 1

This past June, volunteers erected what is only the second monument in Virginia dedicated to a Maine combat unit from the Civil War. Steve Bunker of Gray was among “a number of New Englanders” who founded the 1st Maine Cavalry re-enacting organization at Jacksonville Beach, Fla. in 1959. “Most of the guys were 16, 17, […]

Artillery pounds 19th Maine lads prior to Pickett’s Charge

Twenty-two when he mustered as a corporal with Company I, 19th Maine Infantry Regiment on August 25, 1862, Edgar A. Burpee displayed leadership skills that saw him promoted to first lieutenant by summer 1863. Midcoast men filled Company I, commanded on the march north to Gettysburg by Capt. George D. Smith of Rockland. The towns […]