Tag Archives: Belfast

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 […]

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 […]

The Girls of Company A

At 5-10¼, the hard-bitten Capt. Charles Baker tolerated no foolishness while “inspecting and telling off his men” at their Belfast camp on Saturday evening, April 30, 1864. A day earlier he had received “an unexpected order to report to the seat of war” (Washington, D.C.) with Company A, “Coast Guards Infantry” — and be darn […]

Belfast builds better batteries

After Confederates cut out the Revenue Service cutter Caleb Cushing from Portland Harbor in late June 1863, panicked Maine politicians envisioned will ’o the wisp Southern sea raiders capturing merchant ships and sacking towns all along the coast. If the Johnnies could float undetected past Portland’s stout defenses, what chances had undefended Rockland, Belfast, Castine, […]

Sumter’s 9/11 aftermath: Penobscot Bay reacts to war

As happened after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, the Fort Sumter assault briefly united loyal Americans against an outrage committed against their country and upon their fellow Americans. Events taking place in Stockton and Belfast in coastal Waldo County that last full week in April 1861 exemplified Mainers’ response to the nation’s first 9/11-style disaster. […]

Mother, wife, and Belfast intelligence agent, Part III

Ann Sarah Monroe had not traveled from Belfast, Maine to Tidewater Virginia solely to visit her husband in late winter 1863. Charged with gathering crucial intelligence, she also came as an agent representing the Ladies’ Volunteer Aid Society of Belfast Ann particularly wanted to see the Army of the Potomac hospitals for which the ladies […]

Mother, wife, and Belfast intelligence agent, Part II

Doffing their kepis to the almost middle-aged matron arriving at the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment’s camp in Virginia’s Stafford County around March 1, 1863, soldiers quietly speculated about her identity. Regimental surgeon Dr. Nahum Parker Monroe ended the conjecture as, observing proper mid-19th century’s etiquette, he dispassionately greeted his 42-year-old wife, Ann Sarah Monroe. Weary […]

Mother, wife, and Belfast intelligence agent, Part I

With even her involvement in the Underground Railroad only a notation in her obituary, a Belfast woman might have passed into historical obscurity — but Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter, and like many other patriotic Belfast women, Ann Sarah Monroe rallied ’round the flag. Born in Belfast on December 21, 1821 to Alfred and […]

Democratic draft opponents thrash pro-Republican Grant in Prospect

  Did the first violent resistance against the draft in Maine occur, in of all places, Prospect? Bordered by modern routes 1, 1A, and 174, Prospect lies at the eastern tip of Waldo County, spreading across the hills to the bluffs along the Penobscot River Narrows. The town’s population was 709 in the 2010 federal […]

A looting we will go!

Given the opportunity to join the looters pillaging shattered Fredericksburg in Virginia, the respectable Dr. Nahum P. Monroe grabbed what plunder he could. And he admitted that he had done so. Well after sunset on Monday, Dec. 15, 1862, Monroe (the chief surgeon of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment) rousted at least 20-25 wounded Union […]