The early strife that would come to divide a nation slowly boiled in the decades leading up to the American Civil War. In 1838, one event became the final tipping point for many Mainers, after which the United States began careening towards a new revolution.
Congressional Rep. Jonathan Cilley, challenged to a duel by a Southern member of the House, was killed at the infamous Bladensburg Dueling Grounds. His death became an electrifying rallying cry for abolitionists. No one would be more furious than his son, Jonathan Prince Cilley, who vowed during the Civil War to make someone, or maybe everyone in the South, pay for his father’s death.
As war erupted, the Union states sent its men to fight against their Confederate counterparts—once their brothers in patriotic unity, now their sworn enemies in a conflict that would test a nation barely eight decades old.
Here begins the story of the more than 75,000 Maine men who fought for the preservation of the Union. Long before Joshua Chamberlain would make history at Gettysburg, Mainers headed south to defend their country—or pay the ultimate price in trying.
In this, the first of three volumes of Maine’s deep involvement in the American Civil War, noted author, historian, journalist, and storyteller Brian F. Swartz brings us more than just a history book. Beyond merely repeating facts from other books, in this opening volume Swartz delivers an electrifying account of Maine at war—from Cilley’s fateful duel at Bladensburg in 1838 to the explosive battle between the Rebels under Lee and the Yankees under McClellan at Sharpsburg, Maryland, in late 1862.
Swartz brings together eyewitness accounts from soldiers and nurses who were there—stories garnered from handwritten letters, articles and letters printed in newspapers of the day, and other firsthand tales. From historical societies to state archives to libraries and beyond, and from decades of walking the actual battlefields while conducting his research, Swartz has spared no expense of time or detail to bring this powerful story to life.
Along with hundreds of photographs and illustrations from the period, and enhanced with some of his own modern-day photography of Civil War battlefields, Brian Swartz has begun the astounding story of how Maine mattered during the war—from the day Jonathan Cilley died to the final end of the war.
Here begins that incredible story in the first part of Brian Swartz’s masterwork, Maine at War Volume I: From Bladensburg to Sharpsburg.
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About the Author
David M. Fitzpatrick is a writer, editor, anthologist, and publisher. He has had nearly 70 short stories appear in print magazines and anthologies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, and writes a monthly flash-fiction column on TheCud.com. He has edited or co-edited a half-dozen fiction anthologies, and has published several anthologies and other works.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Nicholas P. Picerno
Publisher’s Preface by David M. Fitzpatrick
Author’s Preface by Brian Swartz
Chapter 1: First Blood at Bladensburg
Chapter 2: Ill-Prepared to Save the Union
Chapter 3: Forming for Battle
Chapter 4: This Is Our Colonel
Chapter 5: The California Flag
Chapter 6: Hot Work at Manassas
Chapter 7: Freedom of the Press Takes Flight
Chapter 8: Maine Women Mobilize
Chapter 9: The 6th Maine Infantry Brawls Apart Portland
Chapter 10: Missing the Face of a Pretty Girl
Chapter 11: Of Snow and Ice
Chapter 12: The Sand and Spiders of Ship Island
Chapter 13: Pulaski
Chapter 14: Spring Cleaning
Chapter 15: Traitor
Chapter 16: Old Grizzly Fights
Chapter 17: All Shore Who Are Going Ashore
Chapter 18: They Rode to Delay Stonewall Jackson
Chapter 19: Slaughter at Middletown
Chapter 20: The Inquiry About the Missing
Chapter 21: The Ladies of Augusta, the Rains of Seven Pines
Chapter 22: The Maine Boys Fired and Fired and Fired...
Chapter 23: The Man with the White Handkerchief
Chapter 24: Across the Flood
Chapter 25: Balloon Handler
Chapter 26: Morning Carnage at Seven Pines
Chapter 27: The Application of Cold Steel
Chapter 28: They Sought the Dead Amidst the Disintegrated
Chapter 29: A Maine Hero lay Closest to Richmond
Chapter 30: Resurrection
Chapter 31: Rally Round the Flag, Boys
Chapter 32: Angels of the Battlefield
Chapter 33: Round Up the Reluctant
Chapter 34: Unremitted Fury at Gaines Mill
Chapter 35: On the Road Again
Chapter 36: The Fighting Retreat
Chapter 37: The Battle of Baton Rouge
Chapter 38: The Fearful Place Called Harrison’s
Chapter 39: The Empty Sleeve
Chapter 40: The Elephant Approaches
Chapter 41: Cedar Mountain Combat
Chapter 42: Men Stood Like Statues
Chapter 43: Prelude to Slaughter
Chapter 44: Encounter in the East Woods
Chapter 45: Forward, the 7th Maine
Chapter 46: Tramping Tonight on the Field of the Slain
Chapter 47: Angels of Mercy
Chapter 48: Maine’s Most Hated
Chapter 49: The Blanket Brigade Presses Onward
Chapter 50: They Wanted to Fight
Military Units Index
Maine Military Units
Other Union Military Units