October 17, 1862
Source material for this story is from the Androscoggin Historical Society.
James Nash, of Livermore, had something in common with the average Maine soldier in the Civil War.
The majority of men who volunteered were farmers. So was Nash. He owned a small farm in Androscoggin County, and when the crops were harvested in 1862, he decided to enlist in one of the state’s nine-month regiments.
The time would allow him to serve, and, with luck, return to Maine just after Spring planting to tend crops.
What set Nash apart from his peers, however, was his age.
The men in Maine’s 23rd Infantry Regiment fit the profile of almost every Union regiment. The soldiers were mostly between the ages of 18 and 29, and the average age within a regiment was 25.
Nash was physically fit, but he was also 41 years old. The average life expectancy in the 1860s was around 43 years old.
Commissioned as the Captain of Company I, Nash joined his fellow enlistees in Portland in late September.
The Regiment left Maine for Washington, D.C., on October 18.
The Maine men joined General Cuvier Grover's brigade and assisted in several collaborative defense efforts, beginning at East Capitol Hill , and then along the Potomac River, first at Seneca, Maryland, then Edwards Ferry, and, finally, Poolesville.
The 23rd Maine lost no men in combat, but 56 soldiers were struck down by disease. The Regiment suffered an outbreak of measles, and then typhoid fever.
Mustered out of service at Harper's Ferry on July 15, 1863, Nash returned to Maine.
- How important was Seneca, Maryland to the War?
- What is a brigade?