Tag Archives: Elijah Walker

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. […]

The 4th Maine’s Johnnies Come Marching Home, part 2

When the steamer carrying the homeward-bound 4th Maine rounded Owls Head at 3 a.m., Saturday, June 25, Rockland church bells started pealing, the Halfway Point battery “opened a salute,” and a minute gun fired continuously at the steamboat wharf, Vose observed. Aboard the inbound steamer, “every man was anxious to once more set foot on […]

The 4th Maine’s Johnnies Come Marching Home, part 1

Not even a sumptuous meal could keep the 4th Maine Infantry’s hard-bitten veterans from deserting in late June 1864. Losing 184 men during “the battle of the Wilderness,” the 4th Maine continued taking casualties as the Army of the Potomac battered itself bloody throughout May and into June. Twenty-three soldiers went dead or wounded “near […]

Burnside rolls the dice to destroy his army: Mud March, part 1

His bloody ambition unquenched by the 12,500 soldiers sacrificed at Fredericksburg, Ambrose Burnside took another crack at Robert E. Lee in mid-January 1863. The resulting fiasco almost destroyed the Army of the Potomac, instead. “Words are inadequate to describe the scenes of that eventful campaign,” acerbically commented 1st Sgt. Edwin B. Houghton of Co. A, […]

“My Last Night at Fredericksburg,” a poem

Decades after the bloody fight at Fredericksburg, Va. on Saturday, Dec. 13, 1862, Col. Elijah Walker of the 4th Maine Infantry Regiment penned a poem recalling that unit’s last maneuvers on the battlefield. “My Last Night at Fredericksburg” Walker titled his poem, read by him at the regiment’s 1889 reunion. On Fredericksburg’s field, when fell […]

Joe Hooker takes command, and Maine boys notice, part II

The arrival of Joe Hooker at Army of the Potomac headquarters in late January 1863 stirred interest, trepidation, and many questions. Within weeks he instituted morale-building improvements that restored the army’s elan. “Never was the magic influence of a single man more clearly shown than when Hooker assumed command,” said Capt. Charles P. Mattocks of […]

Young Rockland soldier saves the flag at the Devil’s Den: Part II

Screaming the famous “Rebel yell,” thousands of Confederates rolled east toward Houck’s Ridge and the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg around 4 p.m., Thursday, July 2, 1863. They rolled back a skirmish line comprising the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters and marksmen from the 4th Maine Infantry. The fighting surged toward Devil’s Den and the valley (soon to […]

Young Rockland soldier saves the flag at the Devil’s Den: Part I

If you’ve walked amidst the boulders at the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg, you have crossed paths with a Maine soldier who should have received the Medal of Honor for what he did there. Let me introduce Henry O. Ripley, an obscure hero who stepped onto the Gettysburg stage and emerged unscathed. Confederates should have killed […]

“Boom!” goes the colonel’s career

  Did Elijah Walker blow a future promotion on a quiet night outside Yorktown, Va. in April 1862? Only if he shot off his mouth after a Confederate shot off a cannon that night. A 42-year-old Rockland coal-and-lumber merchant in spring 1861, Walker decided the join the 4th Infantry Regiment being raised by his business […]