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.

5th Maine lads expertly foraged food in the Virginia countryside

Months before William Tecumseh Sherman’s “bummers” made “Georgia howl,” certain 5th Maine Infantry lads, including Corp. William Holmes Morse, expertly foraged — the correct term would be “pilfered” — foodstuffs from unhappy Virginia farmers. In fact, a farmer or two lost a bunch of pigs in the vicinity of 5th Maine pickets in July 1862. […]

Whether Tabbutt, Tibbets, or Tibbetts, an Addison warrior he was

Even if the government could not spell his surname correctly, Hillman Look Tibbetts of Addison still did his job as the good soldier he was. A sailor standing 5-10 when he enlisted in Co. G, 6th Maine Infantry on May 2, 1861, Hillman hailed from Addison, a sea-faring town on the Washington County coast in […]

A hero emerges at Chancellorsville, part 2

As Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick extricated his trapped VI Corps overnight on May 4, 1863, orders went to the 6th Maine Infantry Regiment to defend the corps’ far right flank along the Rappahannock River, even if doing so meant capture or death. As the night passed, time ran out. Concealed in dark woods near Banks’ […]

A hero emerges at Chancellorsville, part 1

 Talk about bureaucratic delay: The federal government took 33 years to reward Charles Amory Clark for saving a Maine regiment at Chancellorsville. Born in rural Sangerville in Piscataquis County on January 26, 1841, Clark “was a student at Foxcroft Academy” when the Civil War began. “I was fairly well fitted for college, and would have […]

Emerging Civil War offers informative and affordable books

If your Civil War summer reading’s getting a little stale or pricey, check out the informative and affordable Emerging Civil War Series. An online blog publishing multiple posts each week, Emerging Civil War “serves as a public history-oriented platform for sharing original scholarship related to the Civil War,” the non-profit organization indicates at https://emergingcivilwar.com, Under […]

Come and get your Antietam dead

Maine boys still littered the Antietam battlefield six months after George McClellan and Robert E. Lee battered each other senseless on that mid-September day. Sometime in early spring 1863, New York resident James S. King traveled to Sharpsburg, Maryland and “visited the field of Antietam in search of the remains of a friend,” reported the […]

U.S. House orders Confederate monuments removed from Gettysburg and elsewhere

The assault continues against the Confederate monuments at Gettysburg. This time the attack originated in Washington, D.C. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an appropriations bill that orders the National Park Service to remove “statues, monuments,” and all other things Confederate from 25 Civil War sites within 180 days of the bill being signed […]

Succinct in death, Valentine left a paper trail in life

Beneath a standard Civil War veteran’s headstone at the Clewleyville Cemetery in Holden lies a man who left quite the paper trail, especially after leaving the army. He’s Valentine Clewley, a surname long found around the lower Penobscot Valley, especially between Brewer and the Dedham Hills. We might call him “Valentine” or “Val,” but hopefully […]

When blue lives mattered

Sometimes the past slaps the present, especially concerning our heroes. For the past few years I’ve scoured Maine to photograph its Civil War monuments, some 140 or so and ranging from the small to the tall, from the bland to the boring to the weird. I’ve photographed most, but somehow the monument in Madison fell […]

Teenager wants to scalp the Confederate that was a Yankee

Amidst the Confederate-statue toppling comes a story that not even a Hollywood screen writer could conceive: a 15-year-old Kentuckian wants to tear down a Confederate statue that started life as a Union soldier and still looks amazing like a Billy Yank, not a Johnny Reb! Jessamine County’s located due south of the Fayette County-Lexington metroplex […]