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.

Fort Hell and the 7th Maine Battery, part 2

Orders later came in November 1864 for the 7th Maine Battery to occupy Fort Alexander Hays on the Petersburg siege lines. Upon his arrival at the new port, Senior 1st Lt. William Berry Lapham realized the fort was “a soft place to spend the winter months.” His men started chopping trees and building housing and […]

Fort Hell and the 7th Maine Battery, part 1

Ordered to shoot when he wasn’t supposed to, Senior 1st Lt. William Berry Lapham of the 7th Maine Battery promptly complied — and all hell quickly broke loose at the Petersburg position that Union soldiers called “Fort Hell.” An Oxford County man to his core — born in Greenwood, raised in Bethel, settled into a […]

Plan a visit to Pea Ridge National Military Park

The Battle of Pea Ridge remains almost an anomaly, a bloody and important battle fought in northwestern Arkansas, yet almost ignored by Civil War buffs engrossed in wartime action east of the Mississippi River. The Pea Ridge battlefield is worth a visit — and prepare for something different from Gettysburg, Antietam, Manassas, and other familiar […]

Draft-related voter fraud rocks Washington County town

Voter fraud occurred in Marshfield in late summer 1863, but town officials quickly got wise to the voting irregularity — and it was not attributed to Russian interference. Only 17.54 square miles in size, Marshfield lies in central coastal Washington County, with Machias blocking immediate access to salt water to the south. Winding through Marshfield, […]

Maine at War to appear at Penobscot County Genealogical Society meeting

If you are interested in genealogy and the Civil War, join the Penobscot County Genealogical Society and Maine at War at 6 p.m., Wednesday, November 20 at the Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow Street, Bangor. To be held in the Lecture Hall on the third floor (press “3” on the elevator buttons), the event marks […]

Last Soldier Ceremony honors a Civil War soldier on Veterans Day 2019

A Clifton lad who “fudged” his age so he could fight to save the Union received a singular honor — the Last Soldier Ceremony — from the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War on Veterans Day 2019. Beneath a glowering, snow-threatening gray sky, some 50 people gathered at Maplewood Cemetery on the Rebel […]

Teen-aged Maine patriot wrote a song predicting his death

A 19-year-old Maine patriot, Charles Morgan Searles, unknowingly wrote the song that predicted how he would die. Nineteen when he enlisted in the 21st Maine Infantry Regiment, Searles was a farmer in Chelsea, now home to the Togus VA Hospital. The first among seven nine-month regiments raised in Maine in late summer/early autumn 1862, the […]

Phil Sheridan conquers Maine, part 2

After capturing Maine in late October 1867, Maj. Gen. Phil Sheridan took a whirlwind tour of Augusta, the capital of his latest conquest. He had come north from Boston to tour Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and Mainers had welcomed him as the national hero he was. Now, seated in a stylish barouche with Maine […]

Phil Sheridan conquers Maine, part 1

Advancing north from the Piscataqua River, Phil Sheridan realized by the time he captured Maine “that this is the hardest campaign he ever had.” And that difficulty occurred even as Mainers welcomed him as a conquering hero. Viewed by many Northerners as a successful general in the anemically led Army of the Potomac, Sheridan toured […]