Tag Archives: John L. Hodsdon

Sitting governor runs afoul Republican opponents, Part 1

As Maine soldiers converged on Gettysburg, revengeful Republican politicians tossed aside the state’s sitting governor, Abner Coburn. A successful businessman from Skowhegan, he had beaten three opponents during the early June 1862 Republican state convention held in Portland. Winning the September election, he took office in January 1863 and soon collided with power-wielding politicians. Coburn […]

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 […]

Only a national draft could reinforce the Federal armies

Note: This is the first in a series of drop-in posts about the national draft and its impact on Maine. Was Ambrose Burnside a Confederate secret agent? No, but his pugnacious refusal to cancel the bloody December 13, 1862 charges at Fredericksburg almost accomplished in the Army of the Potomac camps what Robert E. Lee […]

The Soldierly Monument, Part 4

Stephen Decatur Carpenter had been dead 5½ months and in his grave some four months when Bangor residents dedicated the monument erected initially to honor him — and ultimately all of the Queen City’s war dead. And the thousands of people who gathered to honor all their heroes saw the war come home that particular […]

The 20th Maine lads on Death Row

An incident overlooked by the history books inexplicably placed 14 lads from the 20th Maine Infantry on Death Row, and someone must be held accountable for doing so. Ellis Spear or Walter Morrill or Holman Melcher? No, they were not in charge when these men from Maine committed the transgression that led to their collective […]

Democratic draft opponents thrash pro-Republican Grant in Prospect

  Did the first violent resistance against the draft in Maine occur, in of all places, Prospect? Bordered by modern routes 1, 1A, and 174, Prospect lies at the eastern tip of Waldo County, spreading across the hills to the bluffs along the Penobscot River Narrows. The town’s population was 709 in the 2010 federal […]

A marching Maine regiment carried sight and sound into history

  To this day we cannot hear the actual sounds heard during the Civil War. Some particular sounds intrigue Civil War buffs; the apparently frightening “Rebel Yell” comes to mind, for example. Ironically, an “exclusive clip from the 1930s” in which aging Confederate veterans “step up to the mic and let out their version of […]

Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated: Selden Connor

The news struck Kennebec Valley residents like a lightning bolt: Selden Connor, long associated with the vaunted 7th Maine Infantry Regiment, was dead, shot and mortally wounded on May 6, 1864, during the Battle of the Wilderness. “Gen. Seldon (sic) Connor, late of the 19th Maine … died last week in Washington,” reported the Daily […]

The women of Sherman

  The shots fired by Confederate artillery at Fort Sumter in April 1861 echoed as far away as Golden Ridge Plantation in southwestern Aroostook County … … and still echoed four years later when the residents of Sherman — the town which the plantation became on Jan. 28, 1862 — took stock of the high […]

“Hell, no, you can’t make me go”

Maine soldiers dissatisfied with any aspect of military life — much less getting shot at — often voted with their feet by abandoning flag and comrades to find safety far from Civil War battlefields. Desertion plagued armies North and South throughout the war. The reasons why men vanished from their regimental ranks varied with the […]