Tag Archives: Elijah Walker

Bugged by bureaucracy as the 4th Maine’s war winds down

He’d been shot and briefly captured at Gettysburg, had led his men into the maelstroms at First and Second Manassas, and had scurried as dawn approached on December 16, 1862 to find and save missing pickets at Fredericksburg. Now Elijah Walker was home, but bureaucracy followed him even there. With the Army of the Potomac […]

The army bungles discharging two 4th Maine heroes

The War Department kicked out two 4th Maine Infantry officers in November 1863 and promptly kicked one back in. The other guy wasn’t quite so lucky … A Rockland merchant who recruited Co. B, 4th Maine Infantry Regiment, Elijah Walker rose from captain to colonel by spring 1862, when the departing Hiram Berry left the […]

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 […]