Tag Archives: Maine

A hero charges to dusty glory at Aldie

  The sword-wielding Calvin Douty charged to glory in a Virginia dust cloud in mid-June 1863. Born in Sangerville, Douty lived in Dover when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter. He had served two terms as the Piscataquis County sheriff; in April 1861 Douty “was then serving in the first year of his third term,” […]

The 6th Maine’s screaming demons led the way

Frantically loading and firing their rifled muskets, the Mississippi infantrymen defending the stone wall at Fredericksburg about 11:05 a.m. on May 3, 1863, suddenly realized that all the .58-caliber lead bullets in the world would not stop the screaming, wild-eyed berserkers swarming toward them. No matter how many comrades pitched onto the slope below Marye’s […]

Two heroes still stood at Chancellorsville

“Through smoke and fire and shot and shell, unto the very walls of hell, we did stand and we did stay, in that Virginia field so far away”: Thus does a paraphrased verse from John Tam’s “Over the Hills and Far Away” describe the fate that befell the valiant heroes of the 5th Maine Battery […]

Blood-letting at Salem Church

The regimental ranks thinned by 18 men in mid-morning on Sunday, May 3, 1863, the 5th Maine Infantry boys may have figured the fighting was over for the day. For them, the blood-letting had scarcely begun. After Union regiments captured Marye’s Heights that day, orders summoned Col. Clark S. Edwards and the 5th Maine to […]

Death dance with a Confederate cannonball

After enjoying the “beautiful night” that slipped away with the dawn on May 3, 1863, 1st Lt. George Bicknell saw that Sunday turn decidedly ugly. Sheltered by the Virginia darkness, he stood with his 5th Maine Infantry comrades as they waited the orders to attack nearby Confederate troops defending the heights southeast of Fredericksburg. As […]

Travel agent

Lagrange Severance showed promise as a fledgling travel agent … despite the faded blue uniform that he donned daily. When Col. George Shepley led the 12th Maine Infantry to war in November 1861, the delightfully named Lagrange marched along as a private in Co. H. Described by a Bangor newspaper as “a very intelligent young […]

Civil War re-enactors portray wartime Army balloonists

  While researching a “Maine at War” column about Joseph Wilson from the 4th Maine Infantry and his Army Balloon Corps experiences during the Peninsular Campaign, I read quite a bit about Professor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe, the corps’ erstwhile boss, and his faithful assistant and father, Clovis Lowe. Imagine my surprise at meeting them on […]

Sarah Sampson could have made photographic history

  How close did Sarah Sampson come to making photographic history? Born in 1832, Sarah married Charles Sampson in 1855. The childless couple lived in Bath, where Charles sculpted ships’ figureheads. When patriotic fervor ran high along the Kennebec River in spring 1861, he joined the 3rd Maine Infantry Regiment, accepted a captain’s commission, and […]

Northern blood in Southern soil

They’re not supposed to be here. So why are they? Red brick walls surround the manicured Wilmington (N.C.) National Cemetery, a lovely greensward that abuts the four-lane Daytona International Speedway known locally as Market Street. Forget turning left when exiting the cemetery’s single access gate: That hand-crafted brick wall blocks views of inbound traffic, so […]

Buried far from home

  In his “From the Fields,” a tribute to the soldiers North and South who died on far-flung Civil War battlefields, folksinger Kyle Thompson claims that “from the fields I hear them calling, from the fields where they fell.” During our first trip to Colonial Williamsburg, circa 1996-97, we made the obligatory trip to Yorktown […]