October 3, 1862
In 1862, men from local militia companies were enlisting or were being drafted to fill the call for soldiers to put down the rebellion.
Asa Turner, of Brooklin, had two sons, Austin "Simeon" and Warren.
They were drafted but they refused to report for examination, choosing instead to leave for Canada.
On October 3, 1862, Orderly Sergeant Benjamin Miller, on orders from Major General James Butler, of the 1st Division, Maine Militia, took a posse to "fetch the young rascals to Camp John Pope in Bangor," according to an 1865 letter from Eugene Hale, the prosecuting attorney for Hancock County, to Maine Adjutant General John Hodsdon.
"Miller started to get the boys but was met by the old man who resisted them in word at least & by menacing conduct & they seized him & took him to Augusta," Hale recalls.
"The old man" was Asa Turner.
Miller arrested Turner and "sent him to Portland & had him kept there 3 weeks & when he came out his last state was worse than his first."
Hale describes Asa Turner as "an old seed boisterous copperhead," and his sons as, "snarling young gosling copperheads".
Hale’s letter to Hodsdon comes in response to Asa Turner seeking his idea of justice. Turner, Hales writes to Hodsdon, "has sued Miller & all his posse & claims 4 or 5000 dollars," for Trespass.
A trial was conducted in Hancock County. It continued from term to term, before finally being settled in April 1866.
The jury found the defendants guilty. They awarded Asa Turner the sum of $19.
By 1870, Asa’s sons, were no longer in Brooklin. Thay had moved to Hog Island with their families.
- Why is the term "Copperhead" used?
- What is trespass to a person?
- If Miller was acting under orders, why might the jury have ruled in Turner’s favor?