Tag Archives: Rappahannock Station

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 […]

The 6th Maine Infantry’s heroes meet 50 years later

Ellsworth rolled out the red carpet when the 6th Maine Infantry’s elderly survivors converged on the Hancock County shiretown 50 years after going forth to defend the Union. When the 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment left Bangor for Washington, D.C. by train on May 14, 1861, five unattached companies remained at Camp Washburn. These companies were […]

The last letter home, part 1

A few days before Ulysses S. Grant launched his multi-front assaults against Southern armies in spring 1864, a 20th Maine Infantry private thought about eternity and what the approaching Virginia campaign could bring. Then he composed a last letter home — and included with it a last prayer. Born to William and Eliza Parsons in […]

Virginia night battle broke a Machias mother’s heart

Sometime in latter November 1863, Capt. Wyer Bradbury opened a letter from home. The news was bad — real bad. A merchant ship’s skipper, Wyer lived in Machias with his wife, Eliza, and the Bradburys had raised at least two sons, James and Willie. Twenty when he enlisted in Co. C, 6th Maine Infantry Regiment […]

Maine cavalrymen charge across a bridge and bring home the bacon

The first serious 1863 skirmish between the 1st Maine Cavalry and Confederate troops resulted in a 1-0 win for the Maine boys, ham-wise. Leaving their winter camp near Belle Plain, Virginia on Monday, April 13, 1863, troopers of the 1st Maine rode almost 20 miles to camp at Deep Run, then pushed upriver on Tuesday, […]

The Wilderness, Part 1 — One last fine spring day dawned on the 20th Maine

  When Pvt. Theodore Gerrish of the 20th Maine Infantry awoke to a perfect morning on Sunday, May 1, 1864, he never imagined that he and his friends would not see such a day again. Ulysses Simpson Grant believed that shoving the Army of the Potomac through a godless central Virginia forest that spring would […]

Washington County will bleed at Rappahannock Station, part 2

Ordered to charge Confederate defenses at Rappahannock Station, Va. after dark on Saturday, Nov. 7, 1863, the men of the 6th Maine Infantry Regiment believe they are going in alone. “Probably so small a number of men never before made such an uproar,” Adjutant Charles Clark will comment long afterwards. But behind him (and probably […]

Battered Maine regiments asked permission to come home to recruit

  Their ranks thinned by battle and disease by mid-November 1863, the worn-out veterans of the 5th and 6th Maine infantry regiments wanted to come home, if only for a few months. So did their officers. Col. Clark Edwards of the 5th Maine pled his case in a Thursday, Nov. 12 letter written to Gov. […]

Washington County will bleed at Rappahannock Station, part 1

Washington County will bleed this Saturday, Nov. 7, 1863. Partially concealed in a thick forest just north of the Rappahannock River, the men of Co. D, 6th Maine Infantry Regiment, check their gear as Capt. Reuel Furlong awaits the signal to form his company into line and advance toward the enemy. Wherever Furlong stands, his […]

Hell comes to Rappahannock Station on a dark November night: Part II

  Cold steel is coming to Rappahannock Station on a dark November night. The bridgehead defended by the “Louisiana Tigers” and a North Carolina brigade faces assault along its entire defensive length — and the 5th Maine Infantry will “go in” on the Union right. Meanwhile, “about 500 yards” from “the enemy’s rifle pits, we […]