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.

Georgia plantation wife from Maine, part 3

After Union soldiers stole three mules from Burge plantation near Covington, Georgia on August 2, 1864, Dolly Lunt Burge could only wonder if the Yankees would return. Born in Bowdoinham, Maine in 1817, Dolly had moved south to teach school in rural Georgia. She married Thomas Banner Burge, a wealthy plantation owner, and gave birth […]

Georgia plantation wife from Maine, part 2

Through spring and early summer 1864, William Tecumseh Sherman and Joe Johnston conducted their side-stepping campaign that brought Sherman’s Union army to the Atlanta outskirts. Commanding the Army of Tennessee, Johnston discovered that almost every natural defense position he tried to hold, Sherman outflanked the defending Confederates, who withdrew deeper into Georgia. Angry that Johnston […]

Georgia plantation wife from Maine, part 1

Revealing that she was from Maine would not have saved Dolly Burge a single chicken when Sherman’s “Bummers” came calling in mid-November 1864. Some Mainers moved South in the decades before the Civil War and, when the shooting began, promptly forgot their Yankee roots. Maine-born men fought for the Confederacy, and Maine-born women like Burge […]

A long day’s tramp to Gettysburg, part 2

Their brogans and socks soaked after fording a stream, the 19th Maine Infantry lads tramped onward through the afternoon on Monday, June 29, 1863. The miles fell away across Maryland — and suddenly the regiment (Col. Francis Heath) and 1st Brigade (Brig. Gen. William Harrow) and 2nd Division (Brig. Gen. John Gibbon) led II Corps […]

A long day’s tramp to Gettysburg, part 1

As Part 1 noted, Pvt. John Day Smith would always remember Monday, June 29, 1863, when the 19th Maine Infantry Regiment “set out on the longest day’s march in its history.” From Litchfield in Androscoggin County, Smith belonged to Co. F, which would provide a rogue’s gallery of regimental historians long before the last 19th […]

Maine Legislature supports placing state monument at Third Winchester

The Maine Legislature has announced its support for placing a Maine monument on a Shenandoah Valley battlefield where several Maine units fought on September 19, 1864. On February 28, 2019 the Maine Senate adopted Senate Resolution 304, titled “Joint resolution to express support for erecting a monument to Maine troops who fought in the Shenandoah […]

J.E.B. Stuart kills a Mainer

  Editor’s note: This is the 400th post published by Maine at War Was it something in the apples the 19th Maine boys stole? Was it because they joined a mob in raiding a “friendly” sutler? Or was it simply a lucky shot by a Confederate gunner? Whatever the reason — bad luck, divine retribution […]

Gettysburg shot them all out

Maine newspapers are excellent “original source” documents from the Civil War. The Daily Whig & Courier in Bangor, the Republican Journal out of Belfast, the Eastern Argus and Portland Daily Press of Portland, the Ellsworth American, and the Maine Farmer of Augusta are among the better Fourth Estate sources for letters and reports from Maine […]

Lottery winner catches the Maine-bound boat

However badly that Joseph Hooker blew the Battle of Chancellorsville, an order he issued on January 30, 1863 went over very well with the Army of the Potomac’s rank-and-file. “Orders were given on January 30th from the headquarters of the army that furloughs might be granted for fifteen days to one regimental and two line […]

The 17th Maine backstabbers, part 2

With his resignation from command of the 17th Maine Infantry Regiment already submitted, Col. Thomas Roberts had one last chore to perform: recommend his successor. Since the regiment’s muster in Portland in August 1862, Roberts’ second-in-command had been Lt. Col. Charles B. Merrill, also from Portland. Roberts was away sick when Merrill led the 17th […]