June 11, 1862
Maine Governor Israel Washburn is annoyed. Major General Nathaniel Banks has published an "official report" that makes no mention of the efforts of members of the1st Maine Cavalry Regiment in his recent operations in the upper Shenandoah Valley.
Five companies of the 1st Maine Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel Calvin Douty, of Dover, along with the rest of Banks’ force had been forced out of the valley by Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and his men – but not before some Union units, including the 1st Maine Cavalry, put up strong resistance.
Washburn challenges Banks’ report in a polite letter to U. S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
"From this report, I would infer that no portion of the Maine Cavalry were with Gen’l Banks or had any part in the fighting …." Washburn writes.
Washburn’s intelligence sources dispel any doubt that "the Maine Cavalry under Lt. Col. Douty were with Gen’l Banks on this march & participated actively, displaying remarkable coolness & gallantry in the engagement near Middletown (Maryland) and at other times and places."
Washburn’s principal informant is Archibald Spalding, an associate of U. S. Representative Samuel Fessenden, of Thomaston.
Spalding, upon Fessenden’s and Washburn’s request, visitsd Maine men who have been wounded in these actions. Among them ias Major Jonathan Cilley of the 1st Maine Cavalry, a well-known officer, also from Thomaston.
Spalding describes Cilley’s wounds in a detailed report to Washburn: "Major Cilley, while sitting on his horse and at a halt (as I was told) was struck by a shell which nearly severed his right arm, leaving only a partial connection of skin and integument."
Spalding and Washburn assume that Cilley’s wound is probably fatal.*
Gov. Washburn concludes to Secretary Stanton that, "I find it difficult to reconcile this statement of Mr. Spalding … & which … is confirmed by many witnesses, with General Banks’ official Report."
He asks if Secretary Stanton has any additional "evidence" about whether a portion of the 1st Maine Cavalry was with General Banks in the Shenandoah Valley.
- Does Governor Washburn need more proof about the 1st Maine Cavalry’s presence with Banks’ force?
- What might have been his other motives in writing to Secretary Stanton?
Major Cilley did not die. After a long convalescence he returns to the Army and ends the war as a Brevet Brigadier General. (See Story 1863/6/20, *"Cilley Avenging his Father’s Death.")