Category Archives: the Civil War during its sesquicentennial

Louisa May Alcott and a Mainer witness a soldier’s death

The first death that Louisa May Alcott witnessed as a Civil War nurse likely involved a Maine soldier — and the other witness was a Mainer by way of Ireland. We remember Alcott as an extraordinary writer and poet, and the recent movie Little Women recalled her probably best-known novel. Alcott, an abolitionist, “and her […]

Boost your quarantine reading options with autographed copy of Maine at War Volume 1

With libraries closed indefinitely and access to Civil War books in short supply, why not order an autographed copy of Maine at War Volume 1: Bladensburg to Sharpsburg for your reading pleasure this spring? Maine at War Volume 1 tells the story of Maine’s involvement in the first 18 months of the Civil War, as […]

That was my last picket line

Notified in mid-July 1865 that they would soon muster out, some 20th Maine lads looked forward to drinking their way home. Col. Ellis Spear quickly put the kibosh to that idea. He realized that when the War Department had called for infantry regiments in summer 1862, surgeons did not examine recruits “in the matter of […]

Maine at War will speak at Brewer Public Library on March 18

Brewer-area fans of Maine at War are invited to join us at 11 a.m., Wednesday, March 18 at the Brewer Public Library, located at 100 South Main Street, at the intersection with School Street. Titled Maine and Brewer Help Save the Union in 1861 and 1862, our well-illustrated program will focus on how Maine and […]

Death knocked often at the chaplain’s door

When stretcher bearers carried the badly wounded Brig. Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain ashore at Annapolis, Maryland on June 20, 1864, the news soon reached Reverend Henry C. Henries, the chief Army chaplain at the United States General Hospital in Annapolis. The War Department had opened the hospital on “the neat, comfortable buildings and beautiful grounds […]

Maine at War will speak at Ellsworth Public Library on March 12

Down East fans of Maine at War are invited to join us at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 12 at the Ellsworth Public Library, located at 20 State Street, across from Ellsworth City Hall. Titled Maine and Ellsworth Help Save the Union in 1861 and 1862, our well-illustrated program will examine the vital roles that Maine […]

Seven days in May shatter the 7th Maine

My God. The casualty list runs almost 1½ columns in the Daily Whig & Courier — and this is real “broadsheet,” not the narrow pages that pass for newsprint nowadays. And this is only the 7th Maine Infantry Regiment, which will muster out in 98 days. Paraphrasing George Pickett post-Gettysburg charge, Capt. John H. Channing […]

Did two Union prisoners stay at the same Libby Prison?

Two Union officers stayed at Richmond’s Libby Prison in autumn and early winter 1862. Or was it the same Libby Prison? In its Oct. 17, 1862 issue, the Belfast-published Republican Journal ran a “Narrative of Released Prisoners,” a wire report dated October 9 out of Washington, D.C. The first paragraph introduced Capt. F.G. Young, “direct […]

Wherefore art thou, Joshua Chamberlain?

After three years spent searching, I finally “found” Joshua L. Chamberlain, just not where you’d expect him to be. Recently I wrote about using primary sources when doing Civil War research. Among such sources unique to Maine are the Soldiers Files found on microfilm at the Maine State Archives in Augusta. Sometime after the war, […]

New Yorker would rather “love” in Bangor than fight elsewhere

While most eyes focused on far-flung southern battlefields in October 1862, one New Yorker’s eyes focused on a particular young lady — and the farther and the sooner the Lothario could get her from the Empire State, the better. If she was from New York. Circa-October 20 or so, “a man came to one of […]