Tag Archives: Bangor

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, […]

Sitting governor runs afoul Republican opponents, Part 1

As Maine soldiers converged on Gettysburg, revengeful Republican politicians tossed aside the state’s sitting governor, Abner Coburn. A successful businessman from Skowhegan, he had beaten three opponents during the early June 1862 Republican state convention held in Portland. Winning the September election, he took office in January 1863 and soon collided with power-wielding politicians. Coburn […]

Did two Union prisoners stay at the same Libby Prison?

Two Union officers stayed at Richmond’s Libby Prison in autumn and early winter 1862. Or was it the same Libby Prison? In its Oct. 17, 1862 issue, the Belfast-published Republican Journal ran a “Narrative of Released Prisoners,” a wire report dated October 9 out of Washington, D.C. The first paragraph introduced Capt. F.G. Young, “direct […]

New Yorker would rather “love” in Bangor than fight elsewhere

While most eyes focused on far-flung southern battlefields in October 1862, one New Yorker’s eyes focused on a particular young lady — and the farther and the sooner the Lothario could get her from the Empire State, the better. If she was from New York. Circa-October 20 or so, “a man came to one of […]

Returning Port Hudson veterans meet Hannibal Hamlin

What happens when warriors fresh off the battlefield spend two weeks traveling home? Hopefully they don’t stink, at least. Bloodied at Irish Bend in April 1863 and at Port Hudson that May and June, the 26th Maine Infantry boys probably lined the rails and cheered jubilantly as their steamboat chugged upriver, away from Port Hudson […]

Confederate re-enactors bring Southern realism to Civil War events

Only Texas Avenue and a bit of grass separated the Confederate and Union camps during Drums on the Penobscot, held August 10-12 in Bangor. However, unlike their counterparts from the Civil War, these Johnny Rebs and Billy Yanks were not shooting at each other. In fact the re-enactors often appear at the events during the […]