Category Archives: the Civil War during its sesquicentennial

Gorham sailor went back to rescue trapped comrades

Realizing that captivity awaited Union sailors suddenly tossed onto a South Carolina beach on a cold, rainy, and wind-driven January day, a Maine sailor stepped across a cutter’s gunnel and went to the rescue. George H. Pendleton should have received the Medal of Honor for what happened next, but his story vanished into history except […]

Soldier’s pet

After more than a year’s service in the Army of the Potomac, a combat veteran from Maine noticed that pets — animals of almost any kind — often turned even the most callous soldier a bit softer. Edmund J. Brookings, 23, had enlisted in Co. B, 16th Maine Infantry Regiment, on August 1, 1862. A […]

“Sprechen sie Deutsch” in Portland?

A Maine newspaperman failed to ask all the pertinent questions when handed a most mysterious human-interest story in late January 1865. Four Portland-area newspapers sent “attaches” to visit Camp Berry in Cape Elizabeth on Wednesday afternoon, January 25, 1865, according to the Portland Daily Press. The papers included the pro-Republican PDP and its arch rival, […]

Christmas 1862: awaiting a brother’s fate at Fredericksburg

Her stomach probably tied in a knot, sometime on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1863 a sister of Samuel Franklyn Parcher sat at a desk while writing her brother. Blood-soaked Fredericksburg was eight days past, and Maine newspapers had already published casualty lists. The sister (either Eliza or Mary) worried deep in her heart about “Frank,” whose […]

Six cheers for Madame Flag Raiser!

Of all the guests attending an incredible patriotic celebration held by the 8th Maine Infantry Regiment in early 1864, the greatest and loudest acclaim went to the general’s lady who started running an American flag up a 100-foot flagpole. Commanded by Col. John D. Rust, the 8th Maine spent winter 1864 on Port Royal Island […]

Soldiers and their wives bid a last farewell

Among all the people affected by the Civil War’s blood and gore, to this day most Civil War historiography has touched little upon the wives who saw their men off to war, North and South. Onlookers paid little attention in print to particular central Maine wives biding their husbands “adieu” in spring 1861. Just 26 […]

Scarborough’s Hiram Berry fought in Louisiana and Virginia

There’s room in Maine Civil War lore for more than one Hiram Berry. The most famous, the general killed at Chancellorsville, has a quasi-monument at a Rockland cemetery. According to the soldiers’ files maintained by the Maine State Archives, three other Hiram Berrys served in the army during the Civil War. The Hiram Berry who […]

New Third Winchester monument honors Maine soldiers

A new monument now honors the Mainers who fought at Third Winchester on September 19, 1864 — and who also served during Phil Sheridan’s 1864 Valley Campaign. Peter Dalton, a Maine Civil War historian and author now living in the Shenandoah Valley, and his wife Cyndi envisioned placing a monument on the Virginia battlefield where […]

Funkstown raid kills a Maine Yankee’s pipe

A wild raid on Robert E. Lee’s post-Gettysburg retreat lines earned a Calais officer a mention in dispatches — and almost got him shot. A 25-year-old Calais schoolmaster in 1861, Reuel W. Furlong stood 6-2½ and had gray eyes, black hair, and a florid complexion. He joined the 6th Maine Infantry Regiment as Co. D’s […]