The Civil War (1861-1865)

"…Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this…"

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
16th President of the United States
The Gettysburg Address
November 19, 1863

Abraham Lincoln

September 17, 1862 – This date marks the bloodiest day in U.S. military history as General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Armies are stopped at Antietam in Maryland by General George B. McClellan and numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall an estimated 23,000 men are dead and wounded. Lee withdraws to Virginia.

I am voting in honor of my great-grandfather, Wilson C. Fitzgerald. He fought with Company F, 7th Maine Infantry Regiment at the Siege of Yorktown, the Battle of Williamsburg, the engagement at Mechanicsville, the Battle of Fair Oaks, the Battles of Savage Station, White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill, the engagement at South Mountain and the Battle of Antietam.

(My uncle, named after my great-grandfather, served in the Army during WWII in the Battle of the Bulge.)
Mark C. Fitzgerald, Bath
Served during Vietnam era

December 13, 1862 – The Army of the Potomac under General Burnside suffers a costly defeat at Fredricksburg, Virginia, with a loss of 12,653 men after 14 frontal assaults on well-entrenched Rebels on Marye's Heights. "We might as well have tried to take hell," a Union soldier remarks. Confederate losses are 5,309.

"It is well that war is so terrible – we should grow too fond of it," stated Lee during the fighting.

I am honoring my great uncle, Jerome R. Hodge, who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was killed at the Battle of Fredricksburg on December 12, 1862. He gave his life so that others could be free.
James R. Hodge, Arundel
Served in Korea

July 1-3, 1863 – The tide of war turns against the South, as the Confederates are defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. During three hot summer days, what began as a skirmish ended in the most famous and most important battle of the war, involving more than 160,000 Americans. Confederate casualties in dead, wounded and missing were 28,000 out of 75,000 soldiers. Union casualties were 23,000 out of 88,000.

Aaron Adams (my great-great uncle) was a private in H Company, 20th Maine Regiment at Gettysburg. He was a 27-year-old farmer from Linneus, Maine, and he was killed at Little Round Top. He died so all men might be free. Aaron was never married and town records indicate he owned a horse when he left for Gettysburg to defend freedom and justice.
Gena Pelletier, Durham

Service Record Card for Aaron Adams

Summary service record card for Aaron Adams, Company H, 20th Maine Infantry, killed at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863 –Maine State Archives

Casualty Report 20th Maine at Gettysburg

Composite copy of the original casualty report of the 20th Maine at Gettysburg. Aaron Adams' name is third from the top. The entire list shows a total of 129 men killed, wounded or captured. —Maine State Archives

When I vote, I will pay tribute to my great-grandfather Henry Hartshorn, who fought at Gettysburg. He was in the 19th Maine Regiment. He got wounded in the knee, got gangrene, and came home to Belfast where he died in 1889.
Elizabeth Nibby, Morrill

John Thomas Smith, my great-great-grandfather, served with Company G, 20th Maine Infantry, 1861-65. He was shot in the shoulder July 2 at Gettysburg and taken prisoner, spent 6 months in Libby Prison, and mustered out with his unit in April, 1865.
Larry R. Smith, Wiscasset
Served in Vietnam era

Service Record Card for John T. Smith

Summary service record card of John T. Smith, Company G, 20th Maine Infantry. –Maine State Archives

June 15, 1864 Union forces miss an opportunity to capture Petersburg, Virginia and cut off the Confederate rail lines. As a result, a nine-month siege of Petersburg begins with Grant's forces surrounding Lee.

My great-great-great-great-grandfather, James Alden Grant, served in the War of the Republic in Company B, 7th Maine Infantry, as a private. He died at Petersburg, on June 18, 1864.
Chester E. Nichols, Jr., Harrington
Served in US Coast Guard for over 20 years

John Ervin, my great-great-grandfather, was a Corporal in Company I, 32nd Maine Regiment. He was wounded at Petersburg June, 1864, in the shoulder and mustered out December 12, 1864.
George E. Spulick, Alfred
Served during Korean Conflict

I am voting in honor of my grandfather, George P. Derenburger. He joined the Union Army in August, 1862 with the 11th West Virginia Volunteers. He was wounded at the Battle of Snickers Ferry and a second time at the Battle of Petersburg. He was discharged in June 1865.
Patrick L. Derenburger, Oxford
Served 21 years in US Navy, including Vietnam

I am voting in honor of my great-grandfather, Stephen D. Thurston, who enlisted when he was 36 years old, and his brother, Horatio A. Thurston, who enlisted when he was just 18. They mustered in on December 26, 1863 and served in the 1st Maine Regiment, Company G, Heavy Artillery. Stephen was wounded in the thigh on June 18, 1864, at the Battle of Petersburg.
H. Richard Norton, China

In the summer of 1864, a handful of Confederate agents crossed the border from New Brunswick, Canada, and robbed a bank in Calais, Maine. In the same period, Confederate raiders sailed secretly into Portland Harbor and stole the U.S. Revenue Cutter Caleb Cushing from under the noses of the authorities. Little harm was done as a result of these incidents, but coastal inhabitants felt themselves under constant threat.

Three men honored in this chapter Fields Baston, Sylvester King and John Towle – served with the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery. This unit spent most of the War manning fortifications around Washington, D.C., but in the spring of 1864 General Ulysses S. Grant pulled them out of Washington and reassigned them to combat duty in Virginia alongside the infantry. They were thrown into some of the bloodiest fighting of the entire War. In the space of 10 months, at Petersburg alone, 66.5 percent of their unit strength became casualties.

February 1864 - April 1865 Andersonville Prison (Georgia) was a military stockade of the Confederate army used to confine captured Union army enlisted men. A total of 49,485 prisoners were detained at Andersonville. As many as 30,000 men were confined there at one time. More than 13,700 prisoners died in confinement. Constant exposure to the elements, together with inadequate food, impure water, congestion, and filth, led inevitably to epidemics of scurvy and dysentery.

Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison  – NARA photo

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