Bullet-broken jaw did not silence a 1st Maine Heavy Artillery veteran

Confederates could not keep patriot James Harvey Stinson quiet, not even by almost obliterating his lower jaw. In fact, history suggests that Stinson — “Harvey” to his family and friends — became the life of the party during future veterans’ meetings in Maine’s Waldo County. Born in Prospect to Graham and Jane (Mudgett) Stinson on […]

George Burns, Bar Harbor, and the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery

The gateway to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor teems with visitors right now. Traffic’s heavy on Route 3, the main road into Mount Desert Island’s largest town. Until the mid-20th century or so, the highway ran through Salisbury Cove, a Bar Harbor village on MDI’s north shore. Then the state built a bypass, and many […]

Maine rail trail brushes against a Civil War memory

The grizzled, greatcoat-clad Union soldier stands watch over a Maine rail trail, and whether (depending on the season) bicycling, ATVing (“four-wheeling”), or snowmobiling by the veteran standing atop his pedestal, most passersby will not notice him. Only here in Corinna in western Penobscot County does a rail trail brush against a Civil War memory — […]

Mainers endured the “ominous silence” prior to Pickett’s Charge

As the eastern horizon barely paled on Friday, July 3, 1863, the 19th Maine Infantry lads shifted their position north “fifty-eight rods [858 feet], a little to the left of the copse of trees,” said Sgt. Silas Adams, Co. F. He referred to a scrub-oak grove clumped high on Cemetery Ridge’s western slope, near the […]

Of the 1st Maine Cavalry, Middleburg, and two monuments

Two monuments located about a mile apart in Middleburg, Virginia honor four-legged Civil War veterans and the 1st Maine Cavalry troopers killed during three cavalry fights in mid-June 1863. Middleburg lies in the Bull Run Mountains, rolling terrain screening the Blue Ridge’s eastern flank in northern Virginia and spilling across the Potomac River to become […]

A heart-felt weekend sent 200 new soldiers to war

Discipline held some 200 departing soldiers in their ranks at Steamboat Landing at Belfast on Monday, May 20, 1861 — but tears still flowed. Scrambling that spring to form infantry regiments, Maine Governor Israel Washburn Jr and Maine Adjutant General John Hodsdon created Nos. 1 through 6 by blending existing militia companies with newly recruited […]

Will the real John Smith please stand up?

NEW YORK, N.Y. — With kudos to a TV game show popular with Americans during the 1950s and 1960s … Whispers ripple through the live audience seated at Studio 54 on W. 54th St. as host Bud Collyer steps on stage at 7 p.m., Monday, December 18, 1865.1 Dressed elegantly despite the cold winter swirling […]

Selectmen deny help to a hero’s elderly parents

With one son killed and another son wounded while defending the United States, finances turned grim for Cherryfield farmer Nicholas Newenham and his wife, Bridget, during summer 1864. They asked the town’s selectmen to provide the family with financial assistance, as mandated by state law. When selectmen repeatedly sent the Newenhams packing, Nicholas appealed to […]

A legal beagle recruits for the wrong regiment

Did a Bangor attorney recruit a company for the wrong regiment? In late summer 1861 Gen. Benjamin F. Butler convinced President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton that they needed more pro-war Democrats commanding volunteer regiments. Loyal state governors (mostly Republicans after the 1860 election) overwhelmingly commissioned Republican officers, and War Democrats needed […]

Enjoying Dunkin’s coffee with Hannibal Hamlin

Imagine meeting Vice President Hannibal Hamlin for hot coffee and a doughnut, maybe a Boston cream doughnut (popular in New England). Imagine settling into comfortable chairs at a local coffee shop and chatting with Hannibal Hamlin about his vice presidency and his opinion of Abraham Lincoln. Where we live in Hampden, Maine, the idea isn’t […]