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.

Fraternity remembers Bowdoin brother killed at Cold Harbor

His fraternity brothers have not forgotten Edwin Searle Rogers, a Patten patriot only 21 years old when he traded Bowdoin College for the 31st Maine Infantry Regiment. He never came home. A photo posted at Find-A-Grave reveals Rogers as a slender, painfully young man, like so many other soldiers North and South waging violent war […]

Firefighters’ Last Call

During their “regular monthly meeting” held in Rockland on Monday, October 5, 1863, firefighters from Dirigo Engine Co. No. 3 honored three fallen comrades with a mid-19th century version of “Last Call.” Rockland was wicked young then, formerly East Thomaston and incorporated as a town only in 1848 and as a city only in 1854. […]

North Yarmouth Academy alumni fought during the Civil War

Depending on the town, Maine schools operated “hit or miss” prior to the Civil War. Students might learn the “three R’s: reading, riting, and rithmetic,” but not much more, particularly in rural areas where mud season, spring planting, and fall harvest restricted students’ educational availability to the winter months. Some opportunities existed for higher learning. […]

Send your Civil War buff an autographed copy of Maine at War this Christmas

With the holidays looming, a personally autographed copy of Maine at War Volume 1: Bladensburg to Sharpsburg is the perfect present for the Civil War buff on your gift list. Released by Epic Saga Publishing, Maine at War Volume 1 tells the story of Maine’s involvement in the first 18 months of the Civil War, […]

History’s fog obscures Freeport’s Anderson Brewer Jr.

On Veterans Day 2020, let history’s bright sunlight clear away the light fog surrounding a Maine hero buried at Antietam. There stands at Woodlawn Cemetery in Freeport a gray-granite monolith (now tilted a few degrees off perpendicular) dedicated on one side to “Anderson Brewer Jr.,” a private in Co. K, 20th Maine Infantry Regiment, “Died […]

Antietam burial map, part 3: A Maine name stands out

Of the 50 soldiers’ whose graves are identified by name on the Antietam burial map, one belongs to “Asa Reed 10 Me,” a private in Co. K, 10th Maine Infantry Regiment. Why he was identified among the 5,844 graves marked on the map drawn by Simon G. Elliott, no one knows. The 10th descended from […]

Antietam burial map, part 2: Do we still walk on the dead?

After studying the Antietam burial map, you can never again walk the Antietam battlefield without wondering if you’re stepping on somebody. For example, many people checking out the visitors’ center (undergoing renovations) walk down the grassy lawn (or along the paved path) and cross the Dunker Church Road to visit the Dunker Church. Some people […]

Antietam burial map, part 1: Its discovery stuns historians and researchers

A Civil War-era map discovered at the New York Public Library in spring 2020 will forever change how visitors view the Antietam battlefield. And there’s even a 10th Maine Infantry lad listed on the map. Invading Maryland in September 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee figured his Army of Northern Virginia had time to forage between […]

The 7th Maine lads faced a hillside alive with 16,000 Confederates

After capturing Fredericksburg on Sunday, May 3, 1863 and then fighting the bloody and inconclusive Battle of Salem Church later in the day, what else could possibly go wrong for Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick and his VI Corps — and indirectly for the 7th Maine Infantry Regiment? A whole lot, it seems. Sedgwick learned early […]

D-Day on the Rappahannock

Civil War buffs remember Chancellorsville as Stonewall Jackson outflanking ol’ Oliver Otis Howard and the Confederates then thumping Joe Hooker, so intent on losing the battle that he did not bother to properly fight it. All the action took place out around Hazel Grove and the Chancellor House, or so the story goes. But heavy […]