Tag Archives: Fredericksburg

Selectmen deny help to a hero’s elderly parents

With one son killed and another son wounded while defending the United States, finances turned grim for Cherryfield farmer Nicholas Newenham and his wife, Bridget, during summer 1864. They asked the town’s selectmen to provide the family with financial assistance, as mandated by state law. When selectmen repeatedly sent the Newenhams packing, Nicholas appealed to […]

Christmas 1862: awaiting a brother’s fate at Fredericksburg

Her stomach probably tied in a knot, sometime on Sunday, Dec. 21, 1863 a sister of Samuel Franklyn Parcher sat at a desk while writing her brother. Blood-soaked Fredericksburg was eight days past, and Maine newspapers had already published casualty lists. The sister (either Eliza or Mary) worried deep in her heart about “Frank,” whose […]

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 […]

Maine boys notice when Joe Hooker takes command, part I

Despite all the immorality-related baggage (drinking, carousing with prostitutes, etc.) historically associated with him, Joseph Hooker helped save the Union in winter 1863. Abraham Lincoln could have done worse than replace Ambrose Burnside with Hooker, at least in the months prior to Chancellorsville. In the regimental camps sprinkled across Stafford County opposite Fredericksburg, morale all […]

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 […]

A quiet country doctor from Maine confronts the horrors of war

  Confederate artillery shells whistling overhead, nearby explosions shaking the damaged house in which a senior Union officer had placed a field hospital, Army surgeons amputated shattered limbs, sewed blood-spurting arteries, and, between patients, wiped blood-covered hands on blood-pocked aprons. Sometimes Dr. Nahum P. Monroe, the senior surgeon of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment, stood, […]

Winter weather could be as wild in Virginia as in Maine

Accustomed to New England’s frigid winters, many Maine soldiers noticed how cold and wet that Virginia winters could be. John H. Stevens, a first lieutenant with Co. D, 5th Maine Infantry, hailed from Acton in York County. Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains, Acton saw its share of bitter cold, but growing up […]

Wishing you a “Merry Christmas” from a “one-horse town”

  Burping politely into his fisted hand, a well-fed 25th Maine Infantry soldier extended a heart-felt “Merry Christmas” to Portland Daily Press readers on Christmas Day, 1862. He had much for which to be thankful, especially the fact that he was not lying in a grave 50 miles south at Fredericksburg, where many other Maine […]

Bristol folk musician resurrects long-forgotten Civil War songs

Concerning Civil War-era music, familiarity breeds memory. Civil War buffs can sing “Dixie,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “We’ll Rally Round the Flag” with ease because such tunes are part of Civil War lore. But few people — even renowned historians — know the tunes and words of “Fort Washington” or “The Cumberland’s […]