Mark F. Wentworth
April 23, 1861
Mark Wentworth had a strong sense of duty. A doctor with a growing practice in the busy seaport of Kittery, Wentworth, 40, was married and the father of three children.
He was also Captain of the Third Division’s Artillery Company A, which, until April of 1861, sounded more impressive than it was in reality. As with many militia companies, Kittery’s had less than a full complement of members, and the demands upon those who had been serving had been irregular at best.
The bombardment of Fort Sumter, in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 12 and 13 changed Wentworth’s mood.
Upon learning that Governor Israel Washburn had called for a Special Session of the Maine Legislature for the following week, Wentworth decided to have Company A meet in anticipation of what the politicians might decide, and to inform the Governor of the company’s disposition.
Of those who attended meeting, 37 "responded aye, and voted that they were ready for any call that the Executive might make upon them without delay," Wentworth writes to Gov. Washburn.
Wentworth also assures the Governor that all absent members of the Company have been ordered to return, and that action is already under way to "have the Company filled to the required quota."
The sentiment among the militia was not unanimous, however.
The Company’s Orderly Sergeant "wished to be excused," Wentworth writes. The men obliged him as he "was voted out of the Company and hissed from the Hall."
Company A was not pressed into service and sent to the war front. It found ample duty at Fort McClary, in Kittery, and in regular training.
Wentworth enlisted in the 27th Maine Infantry Regiment in 1862. He served as Lt. Colonel and then Colonel of the regiment during its service on the defensive perimeter of Washington D.C. (See story from June 28, 1863.)
Mustered out and discharged from the 27th, Wentworth returned to and eventually commanded the 32nd Maine Infantry regiment.
He was discharged from the army in October, 1864, after being wounded during the siege of Petersburg, Virginia.
- What sort of response did the Orderly Sergeant receive?
- Could leaving the militia have been as easy as being voted out by the members?