Tag Archives: Bangor

Trouble awaited Abner Coburn, Maine’s second war-time governor

Abner Coburn stepped into a political mess upon becoming Maine’s second war-time governor as the calendar transitioned to 1863. Born to farmers Eleazar and Polly Weston Coburn in Canaan in Somerset County in March 1803, Coburn studied at Bloomfield Academy in the town of Bloomfield, which lay across the Kennebec River from the upper section […]

The Civil War monument that Maine forgot

Civil War buffs living in Maine know that Gettysburg’s the nearest battlefield, with Antietam a close second distance-wise. Both are 10 to 13 hours away by road, depending on who’s driving and how traffic-plugged are I-495, the Mass Pike, and I-84 (in Connecticut and Pennsylvania). Are there bonafide Civil War-related sites we can visit in […]

The Maine connections with Grierson’s Raid, part 1

The most successful cavalry raid conducted by North or South until the war’s closing months, the May 1863 expedition known as Grierson’s Raid saw two Union cavalry regiments and an artillery battery cut some 500 miles through interior Confederate-held Mississippi. Commanded by Col. Benjamin H. Grierson, the raiders tore up vital infrastructure and ran Confederate […]

An army recruiter on every corner

Much like patent-medicine hucksters peddling liquid healing, Army recruiters occupying just about every street corner in downtown Bangor in autumn 1861 promised potential recruits the sun, the moon, and the stars — and a $100 bounty to boot. Across Maine, recruiters scrambled that fall to raise men for an artillery battery, a cavalry regiment, and […]

Echoes of Shiloh and Maine

Tomorrow, April 6, marks 161 years since Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston pitched into Union Gen. Ulysses Simpson Grant in the scrub woods surrounding a rural Tennessee church named “Shiloh.” Named for that church, the two-day battle caused a shocking 23,000-plus casualties, with the hard-up-for-men South losing a bit more than 13,000 soldiers, including the […]

26th Maine: “The men were worthy of their officers”

When the War Department authorized Maine to raise several nine-month regiments in late summer 1862, the 26th Maine Infantry Regiment coalesced around 10 companies recruited in specific counties. Jasper N. Gray, a 27-year-old Ellsworth mechanic, recruited exclusively in Ellsworth in Hancock County, hence the nickname “Ellsworth company” given to what became Co. C, 26th Maine […]

The dentist turned chaplain turned newspaper correspondent

Another minister might have studied this particularly rambunctious flock and muttered, “Lord, God, what have you gotten me into?” But the Reverend John Kent Lincoln, a brand-spanking new minister and seminary graduate, looked upon the same slightly unruly “sheep” as needing a shepherd, particularly a shepherd who could also pull infected teeth. On August 4, […]

Washington abandons Americans behind enemy lines

The story reads like something out of 2021 Afghanistan: Abandoned behind enemy lines by their government, American citizens face imprisonment or execution if caught by local authorities. Escape seems out of the question, and Washington, D.C. cannot send an 1861 equivalent SEAL team to pluck frightened Unionists from Southern clutches. Three determined Mainers finally take […]

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 […]

Disaffected Maine Republicans chuck their own governor, Part 2

Previous: Maine Governor Abner Coburn runs afoul of the special interests Married to Augusta native Harriet Stanwood, transplanted Pennsylvanian James G. Blaine wielded great power within the Maine Republican Party by summer 1863. Buying into the Kennebec Journal in 1853, he moved to Augusta and won election to the Maine House in 1858. Repeatedly re-elected, […]