Category Archives: the Civil War during its sesquicentennial

20th Maine: the warrior and the bastard, part 1

His gray eyes peering through swirling gunsmoke, Pvt. George Washington Buck loaded and fired as fast as possible as Alabamians raged against the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment’s left flank on July 2, 1863. Numbering three officers, five sergeants, five corporals, and 33 privates, Buck’s Co. H reported to Capt. Joseph F. Land, a black-eyed merchant […]

Fort Knox slates mid-July Civil War encampment

Join Maine at War as we travel in time to the 1860s as Fort Knox State Park hosts a Civil War Living History Encampment from Friday, July 16 through Sunday, July 18. The three-day event will feature living history demonstrations of Civil War life, including camp life, cannon firing, garrison operations, and guard mount. Participating […]

Winfield Scott Hancock runs afoul a Maine sea captain, part 2

Editor’s note: You can read part 1 here. Soon after Robert E. Lee launched his artillery bombardment at Gettysburg on Friday, July 3, 1863, some 115 to 150 Confederate cannons fired steadily, “the air was filled with projectiles, there being scarcely an instant but that several were seen bursting at once,” said Maj. Gen, Winfield […]

Winfield Scott Hancock runs afoul a Maine sea captain, part 1

After sunrise on Friday, July 3, 1863, Lt. Col. Freeman McGilvery started bringing batteries “into line on the low ground on our left center,” along Cemetery Ridge’s southern slope. His guns faced west toward distant Seminary Ridge and the nearer Emmitsburg Road, along which Confederates “were massing artillery in force.” Hailing originally from Stockton Springs […]

A spot of tea dispels the post-Gettysburg dark

When the going got tough, Maine nurse Sarah Sampson brewed tea — and her worried traveling companions suddenly relaxed in the southern Pennsylvania darkness. Gettysburg “was a field of blood, on which the demon of Destruction revelled [sic],” observed Dr. Jonathan Letterman, medical director for the Army of the Potomac. Three days’ fighting had left […]

Maine’s largest cannonball is in … Hodgdon?

Civil War service in a Maine artillery battery so affected Royal Spaulding Adams that prior to or after his death, he left arrangements to adorn his monument with what could be Maine’s largest cannonball, real or replica. Royal was a Hodgdon lad, born there to Isaac Benjamin Adams and Margaret E. Hawksley Adams on February […]

Mainers go violent at the Devil’s Den, part 2

Editor’s note: You can read part 1 here. Realizing that Confederates had swarmed over the Devil’s Den and captured three 10-pounder Parrott rifles atop Houck’s Ridge, Col. Elijah Walker led his men uphill to retake the guns belonging to Capt. James E. Smith’s 4th New York Battery. The 4th Maine had spent the afternoon on […]

Mainers go violent at the Devil’s Den, part 1

As John Bell Hood’s division swept east from the Emmitsburg Road after 3 p.m., the 4th Maine Infantry Regiment occupied a position near the Devil’s Den, the rock-tumbled outcropping at the south end of Houck’s Ridge. Atop it spread four 10-pounder Parrotts belonging to the 4th New York Battery, commanded by Capt. James E. Smith. […]

Unofficial integration: Maine Indians and “white” regiments

The War Department required that no “white” regiments, whether regular Army or state-raised, enlist minorities. Blacks could join “black” regiments, and as for American Indians, maybe they could serve with an Indian unit in Indian Territory, a.k.a. “Oklahoma” from statehood onwards. Black was black, white was white, Indians were Indians, and never the trio should […]

Lakeman loses larking lieutenants

Moses B. Lakeman lost lieutenants on June 20, 1863. He had a pretty good idea what happened to them. Commanded respectively by colonels Lakeman and Elijah Walker, the 3rd and 4th Maine infantry regiments served in the 2nd Brigade led by Brig. Gen. John Henry Hobart Ward, a New York City native and Mexican War […]