Maine in the Civil War

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Maine in the American Civil War

Maine and the Civil War (1861-1865)

Maine (1861-1865)

No one of the loyal states can claim preeminence over the
Pine Tree State in its conduct during the Civil war. The uni-
versal sentiment of her people was that the Union must be pre-
served and the supremacy of the law maintained at whatever cost
of life and treasure. All the patriotism of their revolutionary
ancestors showed forth in the prompt and energetic action taken
by her citizens in support of the general government, and in the
determination that our institutions should be preserved as handed
down by the fathers. The excess of her devotion to the Union,
and some of her enormous sacrifices in blood and treasure will
be briefly recorded in the following pages. Unnumbered pages
would not suffice to tell in detail the splendid history of individual
sacrifice and heroism on the part of her citizens during the con-
tinuance of the great struggle for the life of the nation.
The distant mutterings of rebellion had been heard for many
months, and four of the Southern States had already passed or-
dinances of secession, while several others were threatening to
pass similar ordinances, when the legislature of the State of
Maine took steps to assure the government at Washington of its
unswerving loyalty, and passed on Jan. i6, 1861, by a large ma-
jority, the following joint resolutions: —
"Whereas, By advices received from Washington, and by
information received in many other ways, it appears that an ex-
tensive combination exists of evil-disposed persons to effect the
dissolution of the Federal Union, and the overthrow of the Gov-
ernment; and whereas the people of the state are deeply attached
to the Union and thoroughly loyal to the government, and are
heartily devoted to their preservation and protection; therefore,
"Resolved, That the governor be, and hereby is, authorized and
requested to assure the president of the United States of the
loyalty of the people of Maine to the Union and the government
thereof; and that the entire resources of the state in men and
money are hereby pledged to the administration in defence and
support of the Constitution and the Union."
When the news reached the people of Maine that the first gun
of rebellion had been fired upon our national flag, and that the
United States fort, Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, S. C, had
been assaulted and reduced, April 12, 1861, a great wave of
patriotic ardor swept over the whole state. Everywhere her sons
and daughters were inspired by a spirit of determination to
avenge the blow that had been struck, and to aid the government
in crushing the treasonable movement. Men forgot their party
affiliations, and patriotic assemblages gathered in all the princi-
pal places in the state to voice their undying devotion to the
Union. All were animated by the same spirit of sacrifice, and
active steps were at once taken to form military organizations.
The hills and valleys of Maine resounded with martial music
and the gleam of bristling bayonets was seen throughout the
land. In some towns, in less than twenty-four hours, full com-
panies of volunteers were formed, ready to march. The pulpit
and the press united in the demand that the state should do its
full share in upholding the government. Banks and private citi-
zens hastened to tender such material aid to the government for
war purposes as might be found essential. Mr. Henry B. Hum-
phrey, a wealthy gentleman of Thomaston, offered to arm and
equip a company of artillery at an expense of $15,000. Mothers,
wives and sisters were animated by the same loyal spirit, and
some of the women of Skowhegan, eager to testify their devo-
tion to the nation, got out a field piece and fired a salute of 34
guns. The first companies to tender their services were the
Lewiston Light Infantry, Auburn Artillery, and Portland Rifle
Guards. The first named organization was the first to fill its
ranks and be accepted and ordered into service by the governor.
In Cherryfield, four hours after the enlistment roll was opened,
fifty volunteers had entered their names. A poll of a volunteer
company in China on the question of an immediate tender of
their services to the state, showed no dissenting voice. Many
other towns acted with almost equal zeal and promptitude.
The long reign of peace had rendered military organizations
unnecessary, and the opening of hostilities found the militia of
Maine in a neglected and unprepared condition. There was an
enrolled but unarmed militia of about 60,000 men, and not more
than 1,200 of these were in a condition to respond to any sudden
call to arms in the emergencies contemplated by the constitution
of the state. Nevertheless, within two weeks of the president's
call for 75,000 volunteers, April 15, 1861, the 1st regiment of
infantry was organized under the command of the gallant Na-
thaniel J. Jackson of Lewiston, and in less than a month the 2nd
regiment was also ready for service, commanded by the brave
and lamented Charles D. Jameson of Bangor. Sickness some-
what delayed the departure of the 1st regiment from the state,
and the 2nd was the first to start for the seat of war, armed and
equipped so well that it received the warm encomiums of Mr.
Cameron, the secretary of war.
Maine was most fortunate in having, from the commencement
of the war, able and incorruptible chief magistrates, imbued with
the loftiest patriotism, and whose great ambition was to furnish
men and means for the suppression of the rebellion as promptly
and economically as it was possible to do. At the outbreak of
hostilities, Israel Washburn, Jr., was in the gubernatorial chair,
and labored under almost insurmountable difficulties in his ef-
forts to organize an effective military force from the crude and
chaotic elements- of the state militia system. He found himself
without sufficient authority of law to meet the requisition made
on him by the president for a portion of the state militia to be
used in suppressing the armed uprising against the Federal gov-
ernment, and on April 16, the day following President Lincoln's
first call for troops, he called the legislature in extra session, to
convene on the 22nd. He used this language in his proclama-
tion summoning the law-making body: —
 "The fact that the laws
of the United States have been, and now are opposed, and their
execution obstructed, in the States of South Carolina, Georgia,
Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, by a com-
bination too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course
of judicial proceedings, or by the power vested in the marshals
by the laws that are; the fact that a requisition has been made
on me by the President of the United States for a portion of the
militia of the state to aid in suppressing such combinations, and
causing the laws to be duly executed; the fact that I find myself
without sufficient authority of law to enable me to respond thereto
as the exigency of the case requires, — these facts present in my
judgment, one of those extraordinary occasions contemplated in
the constitution for the convening of the legislature. In consid-
eration whereof, I, Israel Washburn, Jr., governor of the State
of Maine, in virtue of the power vested in me by the constitution
to convene the legislature of this state, hereby require the sena-
tors and representatives to assemble in their respective chambers
at the capitol in Augusta, on Monday, the 22nd day of April
instant, at 12 o'clock noon, and then and there to consider and
determine on such measures as the condition of the country and
the obligation of the state may seem to demand."
The legislature sat for only three and a half days, but during
that time, enacted with commendable promptness and unanimity
all laws necessary to enable the state to do its share in meeting
the remarkable crisis of the country. An act was passed to
receive, arm, and equip ten regiments of volunteers, not to exceed
10,000 men, and authorizing a loan of $1,000,000 to meet this
expense. A bill was also passed to raise a volunteer corps of
militia of three regiments, not to exceed 3,000 men, who should
be armed, equipped and drilled at the expense of the state, and
subject to be called into actual service at the demand of the
proper authorities. The volunteers in actual service were to
receive two months bounty and the regular pay of $11 per month.
Steps were also taken to place the whole militia force of the
state in the most effective condition. The governor was author-
ized, if in his discretion the public safety should demand it, to
make provision for the organization of coast guards to protect
the commerce and harbors of the state from privateers. It au-
thorized a loan of $300,000, in case it was deemed necessary to
provide this coast guard. This prompt and patriotic action of the
legislature influenced all classes. The ship-builders and ship-
owners of the state met and offered their vessels to the govern-
ment; lumbermen, fishermen, and men of all professions hastened
to volunteer their services in the companies which were now
being rapidly formed. A general order was at once promulgated
calling for 10,000 volunteers, to be organized into ten regiments,
without regard to military districts, to be immediately enlisted
and mustered into the active militia service of the State.
Strange as it may now seem, the general government believed
that the rebellion would be quickly repressed, and the original
call for troops on April 15, was for only three months service.
The legislative act authorizing these troops to be raised in Maine,
caused them to be enlisted for two years unless sooner discharged,
and the 1st and 2nd regiments were so enlisted; the former was
mustered into the service of the United States for three months,
and the latter for two years. On May 3, 1861, the president
issued another call for troops. Under this call, and under acts
approved July 22 and 25, 1861, 500,000 men were required, orders
were issued from the war department, requiring all state volun-
teers to be mustered into government service for three years.
Meanwhile the 3d, 4th, 5th and 6th regiments had been organ-
ized and enlisted for two years under the above mentioned act of
the legislature, when the three years requirement was issued from
Washington, which necessitated an amendment in the state's mode
of enlistment. The men in the four regiments above mentioned
were asked to sign a contract to serve for an additional year, and
those who declined, with the exception of the 1st and 2nd regi-
ments, were discharged.
Such was the zeal of the patriotic citizens of the state, that
within a few weeks after the adjournment of the extra session of
the legislature, companies had been organized far in excess of
the needs of the hour. After sending forward the first six regi-
ments, the last of which was mustered into the service of the
United States on July 15, 1861, Gov. Washburn decided to
discontinue enlistments in consequence of word received from
Washington that no more troops from Maine would be accepted.
The following organized companies were now required to dis-
band, or, if they preferred, be placed upon such footing as to
drill and compensation, as would measurably relieve them from
the sacrifices entailed in keeping up a military organization, and
yet secure their services when called for:
Capt. West's, East Machias; Capt. Sawyer's, Dixmont; Capt.
Roberts', Dexter; Capt. Boynton's, Newport; Capt. Carlisle's,
Bangor; Capt. Cass', Bangor; Capt. Lawrence's, Gardi-
ner; Capt. Norris', Monmouth; Capt. Duly's, Phipps-
burg; Capt. Jones', Waldoboro'; Capt. Crowell's, Winter-
port; Capt. Robinson's, Unity; Capt. Jones', China; Capt.
Chase's, Fairfield; Capt. McDonald's, Buckfield; Capt.
Houghton's, Woodstock; Capt. McArthur's, Limington ; Capt.
Andrews,' Biddeford. Four of these companies elected to main-
tain their organizations, viz: Duly's, Jones' of Waldoboro', Rob-
inson's and Andrews, and to devote not less than two days per
week to drill and instruction until otherwise ordered, and to be
paid pro rata therefor, without quarters or rations. The other
companies were given leave of absence, without pay or rations,
until called for. Twelve of these commanding officers, together
with large portions of their commands, as then existing, subse-
quently entered the service of the United States in regiments
which were later accepted, as was also true of Capt. Hutchin's
company, of New Portland, which was also put upon leave of
About this time Brig.-Gen. Thomas W. Sherman visited the
state and concerted measures with Gov. Washburn in regard to
his naval expedition, when it was then learned that more regi-
ments would be required. The work of organizing new regi-
ments was accordingly recommenced with vigor, and four other
regiments were speedily mustered into the United States service.
In the first battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861, the troops of
Maine bore an honorable and conspicuous part, and despite the
reverse suffered by the Union Army of McDowell, won fame
for themselves and glory for their state. Of the Federal troops
actually engaged in this fight, nearly one-fourth were from
Maine. This disaster to the national forces led to an order by
Gov. Washburn directing the enlistment of additional regiments
of volunteers. This document recited: — "Whilst observing, with
the most grateful pride and admiration, the brave conduct of our
regiments already in the field, the governor and commander-in-
chief calls upon the loyal men of the state to emulate the pa-
triotic zeal and courage of their brothers who have gone before
them. The issue involved is one on which there can be no divided
opinion in Maine. It affects not only the integrity of our Union,
but the very life of republican government. For the preserva-
tion of these, Maine will pour out her best blood, and expend her
richest treasure. Having already contributed generously of the
flower of her youth and manhood, Maine must send yet more
of her stalwart sons, to do battle for the preservation of the
Union, and for the supremacy of law."
The recruiting service of the state was again in active opera-
tion from this time forward, until the general government re-
lieved Maine from all further participation in the work early
in the following year. Many of the states were ahead of Maine
at this time in the quota of troops furnished the government,
and were still rapidly forming new military organizations, so
authority was given Maine by the war department to organize
five more regiments of infantry (with power to increase the num-
ber to eight), a regiment of cavalry, six batteries of light artillery,
and a company of sharpshooters. Many voluntary organiza-
tions of an informal nature for military service had been formed
in various parts of the state since the outbreak of hostilities; or-
ganizations which not only took their rise without compulsion,
but were maintained after repeated refusals to their applications
for formal enlistment in the service of the state. Not in many
years had there been seen such an array of citizen soldiery parad-
ing for discipline and review, as was to be observed in the months
of September and October, 1861. Little trouble was therefore
found in raising these additional troops, together with four com-
panies of coast guards, which served by authority of the war de-
partment. All told, the State of Maine raised during the year
1861 sixteen regiments (one of them one of the best cavalry
regiments in the service), six batteries of artillery, and a company
of sharpshooters, besides four companies of coast guards. This
was 2,500 in excess of her quota, and those regiments which had
gone forward to the seat of war gloriously maintained the high
reputation of the state for bravery and self-possession in the
numerous battles.
The elections for state officers and members of the legislature
in 1861, on the issue of the vigorous prosecution of the war,
sustained the government by a majority of nearly 60,000. Ar-
rangements were made during this year for the erection of a
fort at the mouth of the Kennebec river. An appropriation of
$100,000 by Congress had been made for this purpose four years
earlier, but Secretary Floyd had refused to take the necessary
steps for procuring a title and domain over the land necessary
for its location. It is only just to say that the movement to in-
crease the defences of the seaboard cities and towns of the state,
originated with Hon. John A. Poor of Portland. His attention
was drawn to the subject, early in 1861, and when the official
note of Oct. 14, 1861, addressed by Mr. Seward, secretary of
state, to the governors of the loyal states on the sea-coasts and
lakes, was issued, Mr. Poor laid certain papers before Gov.
Washburn, who promptly responded, and sent Hannibal Hamlin,
Reuel Williams and Mr. Poor to Washington, as commissioners.
They brought the matter properly before the secretary of war,
and secured the appropriation. The fort was called Fort Popham,
in honor of Gov. Popham. who, in 1608, erected a fort on the
same site. Mr. Poor was further employed by Gov. Washburn
as commissioner in 1862, and his report of Dec. 12, of that
year, was laid before the legislature early in 1863 and printed.
At the close of this session, he secured the adoption of vigorous
resolutions, addressed to the authorities at Washington, which
at once led to the supplying of proper guns and needed arma-
ment for the coast defences of the state, — a measure which had
been neglected by the ordnance bureau of the United States year
after year.
As most of the active militia of the state had been absorbed
into the Federal service, it was found necessary to form several
companies of home guards for coast defence. Fort McClary,
at Kittery, was garrisoned on April 30, 1861; Fort Scammel,
in Portland Harbor, on July 22, and Fort Sullivan, at Eastport,
on Dec. 4. These companies were organized under the author-
ity of the act passed at the extra session of the legislature, pre-
viously mentioned, and were recognized by the national govern-
ment. Informal organizations of similar corps at Wiscasset and
Boothbay were also recognized. Capt. R. H. Tucker, Jr., had
command at the former place. Near the close of the year 1862,
a patrol guard was detailed from Co. I, Capt. B. M. Flint, of
Calais, for that city, to ward off a threatened lawless incursion
across the eastern border of the state.
An event of much interest to the people of the state, and to the
nation at large as well, occurred at the beginning of the year
1862, when Mr. Seward, secretary of state, granted permission
for British troops to pass across the territory of Maine into
Canada. As the movement of British troops to Canada at this
time was in connection with the British demand for the release of
Mason and Slidell, who had been taken from the British steamer
Trent, the State of Maine was considerably agitated, and care-
fully inquired into the matter. The government explained that
the principle on which this concession was made to Great Britain
was that, when humanity or even convenience, renders it desirable
for one nation to have a passage for its troops and munitions
through another, it is a customary act of comity to grant it, if
it can be done consistently with its own safety and welfare.
There was no thought that the State of Maine would feel ag-
grieved; but if so, the directions would be modified.
During the progress of the war the Confederates made increas-
ing efforts to acquire a navy, and already several powerful ves-
sels flying their flag were inflicting much damage upon northern
commerce. In the spring of 1863 rebel privateers appeared off
the coast of Maine and attacked a number of vessels. On June
26, 1863, the crew of the Confederate bark Tacony, under the
command of Lieut. Reade, entered Portland Harbor in the dis-
guise of fishermen, on board a fishing schooner they had recently
captured. After the capture of the schooner, their commander
had transferred to her his crew and effects, and then burned the
Tacony. The night after their unsuspected arrival in the harbor,
they succeeded in capturing the United States revenue cutter,
Caleb Cushing, an armed vessel, as she lay at anchor. Inquiry
the next morning soon disclosed the method of her disappearance,
and a volunteer fleet was sent in pursuit. Being a sailing vessel,
the cutter was soon overhauled in the outer harbor. After a
brief resistance, the Confederates set the cutter on fire and took
to their boats in an attempt to reach the fishing schooner. The
magazine of the cutter was stored with 400 pounds of powder,
which exploded at 2 p. m. with terrific force, in full view of thou-
sands of citizens who were watching the proceedings from vantage
points on the shore. The daring Confederates, 23 in number, were
captured before they could reach the schooner, and proved to
be from the man-of-war, Florida. Their leader held a regular
commission from the Confederate government and they could
not, therefore, be adjudged pirates. After a short confinement
at Fort Preble, they were exchanged. This episode increased
the demand for a further strengthening of the state's seaboard
defences by the national government, which was induced to act
before the end of the year 1863, and Gov. Samuel Cony thus
alluded to the work in his inaugural message: "Upon the call
of this state by the resolves of the legislature touching the de-
fenceless condition of her coast and northeastern frontier, and
the urgent solicitation of my predecessor, the United States in
addition to large expenditures upon the permanent fortifications
in the harbor of Portland, at the mouth of the Kennebec river,
and the narrows of the Penobscot, has constructed earthworks
at Rockland, Belfast and Eastport, at each of which places two
batteries of 5 guns each have been mounted, while both at Castine
and Machiasport a single battery of 5 guns have been supplied."
A succession of victories by the Union armies in the latter
part of 1861 and the earlier months of the following year, in
both the east and west, led the North to believe that the Con-
federacy would soon collapse, and inspired the following resolu-
tion on the part of the Maine legislature, Feb. 18, 1862: "Re-
solved, That the legislature, for ourselves and in behalf of the
state, tender to the gallant officers and soldiers of the army, and
to the officers and soldiers of the navy of the United States, our
warmest thanks for the brilliant victories recently won by their
valor and skill in the States of Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri
North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, and that the
governor be requested to order a salute to be fired in testimony
of our appreciation of the honor and glory which these signal
successes reflect on the arms of the Union."
In compliance with this resolve, a salute of 100 guns was fired
at the capitol. On April 3, 1862, the adjutant-general of the
United States ordered the volunteer recruiting service in Maine
to cease and all enlistments were suspended until May 21. Brig.-
Gen. Milroy having been defeated on May 8, at the battle of Bull
Pasture mountain, W. Va., by the forces under "Stonewall" Jack-
son, authority was given on the aforesaid date to raise the 16th
regiment of infantry for three years service. No further call
for troops was intimated.
One of the kaleidoscopic changes incident to the war now en-
sued. The army under Gen. Banks was routed at Winchester,
May 25; Jackson's army escaped from Gens. Fremont and Shields
and the genius of the wonderful Southern commander even in-
flicted a severe defeat on Gen. Shields; a few weeks later came
the Seven Days' retreat of Gen. McClellan's army from the
Chickahominy to the James, involving a series of terrible battles
before Richmond. These events made it apparent that the war
was far from ending, and that additional armies must be raised.
July 2, 1862, the president issued a call for 300,000 men for
three years, the quota assigned to Maine being 9,609. Within a
few weeks a requisition was made upon Maine for her quota
under this call, and the 16th regiment then ready, together with
the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th, authorized by General Orders,
and numerous recruits for regiments in the field, furnished by
cities, towns and plantations upon requirements based upon popu-
lation, were accepted in satisfaction of the requisition. Mean-
while, an inspiring appeal to the people of the state had been
issued on July 4, 1862, by Gov. Washburn, in which he said:
"An additional number of troops is required by the exigency of
the public service, and if raised immediately, it is believed by
those who have the best means of knowledge, that the war will
be brought to a speedy and glorious issue. * * * That her
natural interests may be protected and advanced; that tranquil-
ity and peace may be restored throughout the land; that the
Constitution and the Union, which have been to us all the source
of unmeasured blessings, may be preserved ; that Liberty, of
which they were the inspiration and are the selected guardians,
may be saved; and that the light of one great example may shine
brighter and brighter, to guide, cheer and to bless the nations;
to aid in all these, I invoke the people of this state, a prompt and
hearty response to this new demand upon their patriotism. And
may they all unite in the work that is before them, each laboring
in his own sphere, doing what he can by his example, influence
and sympathy — proffering his treasure, his time, his strength,
his heart and his highest hopes to the cause of his country.

General orders will be issued immediately, giving authority
for raising new regiments of infantry and calling into actual
service a portion of the ununiformed militia of the state."
Volunteering in all parts of the state was so prompt that the
last of the above regiments, the 20th, was mustered into the
service of the United States before the end of August. Before
their organization was completed, the president, on Aug. 4,
called for 300,000 militia, to be raised by draft, and to serve for
nine months, unless sooner discharged. The quota of Maine,
under this call, was 9,609, from which some deduction was made
on account of the large number of enrolled militia in the mer-
chant marine and the navy. Permission was also given to satisfy
the requisition with volunteers, either in whole or in part. On
Aug. 9 general orders were issued by the war department, which
prescribed regulations for the enforcement of the draft, di-
rected the selection of rendezvous for the troops, commandants
for the encampments, and the enrolment of all able-bodied male
citizens between the ages of eighteen and forty-five; it also di-
rected, provisionally, the appointment of a commissioner from
each county to superintend the drafting and hear and determine
the excuses of persons claiming exemption from military duty.
Under a law enacted by the legislature at its last session, all
citizens subject to military duty had been enrolled in June, and
only a supplementary enrolment was now found necessary to
fulfil the requirements, hence no commissioners were appointed
at this time in Maine. The enforcement of the draft was finally
ordered for Sept. lo, but it was only found necessary to com-
mence proceedings in a few towns, which were then deficient in
their quotas. Under this stimulus, the municipal authorities of
these towns, made arrangements to supply their quotas by vol-
untary enlistment, and without resort to the draft.
Three places of rendezvous were deemed sufficient: — ''Camp
Abraham Lincoln," at Portland, Col. John Lynch, commandant;
"Camp E. D. Keyes," Augusta, Col. George W. Ricker, com-
mandant; "Camp John Pope," Bangor, Col. Gideon Mayo, com-
mandant. At Portland and Augusta, three regiments of nine
months' troops were rendezvoused and organized at each en-
campment, and at Bangor, two regiments. As some of the towns
were still deficient in their quotas at the close of October, a
general order was issued, appointing a commissioner for each
county to make a draft on Nov. 29, if any town should then be
found wanting. These commissioners devoted their energies to
such good purpose in facilitating enlistments for delinquent
towns, that they found it unnecessary, in any instance, to resort
to the harsh measures of the draft.
Seventy-seven cities and towns in the state even exceeded
their quotas under the calls of July 2 and Aug. 4, sending from
one to twenty-five men in excess of the demand, thus relieving
other parts of the state. The town of Portage Lake had only
one able-bodied man left in it; the town of Saco exceeded her
quota under each call by no less than twenty-five men; and the
town of Machias not only furnished its full quota with splendid
promptness, but declared a willingness to respond to any future
calls in like manner. Many towns had more men in the service
than were required of them, but these recruits were credited to
and received the bounty of other places, their places of residence
never receiving the credit they deserved.
The citizens of Maine were divided into three parties at the
election which took place on the second Monday of Sept., 1862:
viz, the Republican, the Democratic, and the "War Democrats."
The Republicans placed in nomination Abner Coburn as their
candidate for governor; the "War Democrats" nominated Col.
Charles D. Jameson, colonel of the 2nd Maine regiment; and the
regular Democratic party nominated Bion Bradbury, who had
previously failed to receive the nomination of the "War Demo-
crats." The convention of the Republican party adopted a series
of resolutions, in substance as follows: 1st. — inviting the pa-
triotic citizens of Maine to unite on a simple basis to support
the policy and principles characterizing the administration of
Abraham Lincoln; 2nd. — that the rebellion must be put down at
any cost; 3d. — expressing sympathy with, and praise of the
American army and navy, and approving national and state
measures for their relief and reward; 4th. — expressing respect
for and confidence in the present governor, Mr. Washburn;
5th. — expressing confidence in Hon. Abner Coburn, the nominee
for governor. The resolutions adopted by the "War Democrats,"
expressed "unwavering support to the government in all neces-
sary and proper efforts to subdue the existing rebellion and vin-
dicate the authority of the Constitution and Union over every
inch of territory in the United States, and gratitude to our army
and navy," but voiced resistance to "all measures and efforts to
convert this war for the Union into a crusade for negro emanci-
pation;'' approved the "patriotic course of the brave Gen. Mc-
Clellan," and "viewed with detestation and scorn the wicked at-
tempts of scheming politicians to undermine and weaken him
and his army in their brave efforts for the vindication of the
Union." The resolutions of the regular Democrats declared
among other things, "That the purpose of the Democratic party
is the restoration of the Union as it was, and the preservation of
the Constitution as it is; and to secure these objects we will
stand shoulder to shoulder with Union men everywhere in sup-
port of the Federal government in maintaining its safety, in-
tegrity, and legitimate authority by all constitutional means."
The platform recited certain of the Bill of Rights of the Federal
constitution, and "condemned and denounced the repeated and
gross violation by the executive of the United States, of the said
rights thus secured by the constitution; and also repudiated the
monstrous dogma that in time of war the constitution is sus-
pended, or its powers in any respect enlarged beyond the letter
and true meaning of that instrument;" etc. At the election held
on Sept. 8, Coburn received 45,534 votes; Jameson, 7,178, and
Bradbury, 32.331, a Republican majority over both the others
of 6,025. Four Republican Congressmen, one Democratic Con-
gressman, and a Republican majority of 81 in the state legis-
lature were elected at the same time.
By the close of the year 1862, there had been sent into the
field from the State of Maine, twenty-seven regiments of infantry,
one regiment of cavalry, one regiment of heavy artillery, six
batteries, and one company of sharpshooters, exceeding 30,000
men. These were all volunteer troops, and were distributed in
Virginia on the Peninsula; southwest of Washington; at Port
Royal, S. C.; Fernandina and Pensacola, Fla.; and at New Or-
leans. In addition to the troops above mentioned, a considerable
number were also recruited for regiments in the field, which had
become depleted from active service.
The draft was enforced by the general government under the
conscription law for the first time in the year 1863. In June of
this year, Lee's great army of nearly 100,000 men had crossed
the Potomac and his advanced corps under Ewell had entered
Pennsylvania. The authorities at Washington were much alarmed
by the presence of this army on their north and on June 29
a draft of 100,000 men was ordered by the war department. The
draft proceeded in Maine, during the summer months, in a gen-
erally peaceable and orderly manner. Maj. J. W. T. Gardiner
was appointed acting assistant provost-marshal-general of Maine,
and boards of enrolment were organized by the United States in
the five congressional districts of the state. The only resistance
made to the enforcement of the draft was in the towns of King-
field, Freeman and Salem, in the 2nd district, when, in July, the
malcontents to the number of a few score of men rallied at Kings-
ton and made some show of armed rebellion. This uprising was
promptly subdued by a force of men made up of Co. G, 3d divi-
sion of the state militia (composed chiefly of returned veterans),
and a detail of United States regulars; the whole under the com-
mand of Post Adjt. Webber, on the staff of Maj. Gardiner.
The number of men held for service or accepted as substitutes
under the draft, was about 2,500. As many towns had voted in
public meeting to pay the commutations of such of their citizens
as might be drafted. Gov. Coburn, in view of the trouble which
might result from this action, propounded the two following
questions to the justices of the Supreme Court: 1. — "Has a
city or town any legal right to pledge its credit to raise money
for the purpose of paying the commutations of such of its citizens
as may be drafted into the service of the United States under the
law aforesaid? 2. — Has a city or town any legal right to raise
money by taxation to provide commutations for such of its
citizens as may be drafted?"
The court ruled that Congress had full power, under the con-
stitution, "to command all the resources of the nation, the lives
of its citizens, to prevent, by any and all proper means, that fear-
ful anarchy which would be so imminent if its dissolution should
become an accomplished fact;" that the liability to serve, procure
a substitute, or pay the commutation fee, as created by the
Enrollment act of March 3 was of a purely personal nature; that
this was "an act to raise soldiers, not to raise money," etc. Each
of the questions was answered in the negative.
Following the draft, another call for troops was made by the
president on Oct. 17, for 300,000 volunteers to serve for three
years. This gave rise to an eloquent proclamation from Gov.
Coburn which opened as follows: "Of this additional force
Maine is expected to furnish her quota, and she will not dis-
appoint that expectation. Now, as heretofore, her patriotic men
will respond to the call, and promptly furnish her full share
of the force necessary to vindicate the integrity of our govern-
ment, and maintain the supremacy of the laws of the Union.
"Our people, with almost entire unanimity, have determined
that the present rebellion shall be suppressed, and that the
Union which it was designed to destroy, shall be maintained.
For this purpose they entered upon the contest, and to this end
they will persevere until the object be accomplished, and until
the world shall be satisfied that free men can endure more, and
persevere longer for the preservation of free government, than
can the most determined and desperate traitor for its destruction.
"The length of the conflict is not to be measured by years,
but by events. Treason is to be put down, and to that end should
all the measures of the government be subservient."
Pending the draft in 1863, Gov. Coburn received permission
through a general order of the war department, to recruit the
29th and 30th regiments of infantry, 2nd regiment of cavalry,
and 7th battery of light artillery, which organizations were
termed veteran volunteers, and furnished with "service chevrons"
by the war department, to be worn as a badge of honorable
distinction, as was done with all men who reenlisted. By the
end of the year the above troops were nearly ready for the field
and in addition a large number of men were enlisted for regi-
ments already at the front. Ten Maine regiments were mustered
out of the service of the United States during the year 1863, the
terms of their enlistments having expired, and at the close of the
year, there remained in active service sixteen regiments and one
battalion of infantry, one regiment and one company of cavalry,
one regiment of heavy and six batteries of light artillery, and
one company of sharpshooters. In addition to the government
bounty of $402 for veteran recruits and $302 for new recruits,
Maine offered in October, 1863, a bounty of $100 to all recruits
entering incomplete organizations then in the state, and $55 to
recruits entering regiments or corps in the field; besides this, as
in 1862, numerous cities and towns paid extra bounties to recruits
enlisted within their limits, anticipating legislative grants for
legal authority in such cases. It had been hoped in this manner
to escape any resort to the draft in Maine. As in previous years,
many of the seafaring population entered the naval service.
When the war broke out, the bonded state debt was in round
numbers about $700,000. This was increased by expenses in-
cidental to the war to $1,472,000 on Jan. 1, 1863, and during that
year there was added a further war debt of $950,000, making
the total debt of the state, on Jan. 1, 1864, $2,422,000. The
legislature of 1863 increased the state tax of that year over the
tax of the previous year by the addition of a mill on the dollar
of valuation. It also renewed the act of the previous year,
exempting for another year the state banks from the severe
penalties imposed by their charters in the event of their suspend-
ing specie payments. This legislature also remitted one-half of
the state tax imposed upon the banks by their charters, as Con-
gress had imposed a tax upon the circulation and deposits of
the local banks.
The Republican state convention of 1863 voted unanimously
to sustain the national administration in its efforts to subdue the
rebellion, and placed in nomination for governor Samuel Cony,
who had in the previous year been a prominent member of the
party known as "War Democrats," and had made an active can-
vass of the state in favor of Col. Jameson. The Republicans
and the War Democrats united in the canvass this year under
the name of the Union party. The Democrats renominated their
candidate of the previous year, Bion Bradbury, and adopted
resolutions announcing their devotion to the Constitution and
the Union, but severely denouncing many of the war measures
of the Government. They declared that in the opinion of the
convention the war was conducted by the present administration
"not for the restoration of the Union, but for the abolition of
slavery and the destruction of the Union." In the election
which followed on Sept. 14, Cony received 67,916 votes, and
Bradbury 50,366 — a majority for Cony of 17,550. The Union
party also had a majority of 118 on joint ballot in the legislature,
elected at the same time.
Among the more important war measures passed by the legis-
lature of 1864 was an act authorizing Maine soldiers in the field
to vote for electors of president and vice-president; also a re-
solve by a two-thirds vote providing for an amendment to the
constitution of the state, so as to allow soldiers absent from the
state, except those in the regular army of the United States, to
vote for governor and other state and county officers. This
amendment was ratified by the people by a majority of 45,303.
The whole number of votes cast by soldiers was reported to
be 4,915. A law was also enacted for the payment by the state
of a uniform bounty of $300 to any person enlisting under any
calls except those made prior to Feb. 1, 1864. This was done
to correct the practice which had arisen in large cities and towns,
which in their anxiety to avoid the draft outbid each other in
the amount of bounties, thus depriving the poorer towns of the
ability to fill their quotas. The law operated well until the call
of July 18, 1864, under which recruits were taken for one year.
The state offered only $100 for this class of recruits, which
proved to be insufficient, and the old methods were again re-
sorted to by the cities and towns.
Under Gov. Cony's administration in 1864 six companies of
cavalry were raised late in the winter for Baker's D. C. cavalry,
in addition to one raised by his predecessor. The 31st and
32nd regiments of infantry were also raised under the call of
Feb. 1, 1864. Ewell's daring raid up the Shenandoah Valley
early in July, 1864, during which he invaded Maryland and the
District of Columbia and severed the communications of Wash-
ington with the North, so alarmed Gov. Cony that he issued a
proclamation declaring the national capital in danger, and call-
ing for volunteers for 100 days' service for its protection. A
general response was made throughout the state; but fortunately
the danger proved of short duration, as the invading force was
small and retired in a few days into Virginia, with a mass of
plunder, without forcing Grant to release his hold upon Peters-
burg. On July 18, the president issued his call for 500,000
men to serve one, two and three years, and all further action
upon the governor's proclamation was at once suspended.
During the year 1864, Maine contributed to the military and
naval service of the country an aggregate of 18,904 men, of
whom 3,380 were enlisted under the call of Oct., 1863, and
3,525 were veteran soldiers, who reenlisted. Enlistments for
the navy numbered 1,846. Allowances of credits for naval en-
listments anterior to 1864 were made to the number of 3,675.
The term of their original enlistment having expired, the 3d,
4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th and 14th infantry regiments were
mustered out of the service during the year. A large portion of
these organizations had reenlisted, and these, together with others
whose terms of enlistment had not yet expired, were transferred
to other regiments, so that only about 2,000 men all told were
thus lost to the army. By the close of this year the state had fur-
nished for the military and naval service more than 61,000 men,
a number nearly equal to one-tenth of her whole population,
and an excess of several hundred over all calls. By a resolve
approved March 19, 1864, the treasurer of the state was author-
ized to borrow $3,000,000 by the issue of six per cent, bonds
payable in 25 years. He sold bonds to the amount of $2,765,000,
which increased the funded debt of the state to $5,137,000 on
Jan. 1, 1865. At the same date the total ascertained funded and
floating debt amounted to $5,714,625.31.
Toward the close of the year 1864, so much of the territory
of the Confederacy had fallen into Union hands, that a large
number of troops were required to occupy and garrison it ef-
fectively. Moreover, it was believed that the rebellion could
be finally crushed with larger armies, and so President Lincoln
called for 300,000 more men on Dec. 19. Maine did her share
in meeting this demand, but, like most of the other states, did
not complete her full quota, as the necessity for more men had
ceased to exist.
The Republican state convention assembled at Portland on
June 29, and renominated Samuel Cony for governor by acclama-
tion. The Democrats, in their convention at Bangor on Aug.
16, unanimously nominated for governor, Joseph Howard of
Portland. After a political campaign conducted with unusual
earnestness until the presidential election in November, Gov.
Cony was reelected on Sept. 12, by a majority of 15,913, and
the legislature chosen at the same time showed a Republican
majority of 118 on joint ballot. The vote for presidential elec-
tors in November gave a Republican majority of 17,592, and
the electors chosen cast the vote of the state for Abraham Lin-
coln for president, and Andrew Johnson for vice-president.
William P. Fessenden, having resigned as U. S. Senator from
Maine to accept the office of secretary of the treasury. Gov.
Cony appointed Nathan A. Farwell in his place.
An attempt was made to rob the bank at Calais, on July 18,
by a small party of Confederate raiders from St. John, N. B.,
led by one Collins, a captain in a Mississippi regiment. The
daring plan was frustrated, but led to an uneasy feeling along
the northeastern and eastern frontier. Volunteer organiza-
tions were formed in Eastport, Calais, Belfast, and other border
towns to patrol the streets at night, and the regular police force
was increased and armed. In view of the possible danger from
this source, Gov. Cony ordered several companies of home
guards to stand ready to move to any part of the state at a
moment's warning.
This brief narrative of the splendid part Maine took in the
War of the Rebellion must now be brought to a close. Else-
where in this work will be given in detail the splendid services
of some of her noble sons, among them the gallant Gen. O. O.
Howard, conspicuous at Gettysburg, and afterwards in the cam-
paigns of the Southwest, where he rose to the command of one of
the armies under Sherman; Gen. Hiram G. Berry, whose military
talents and substantial service brought him to high command, and
whose death on the field of Chancellorsville was a sore loss to the
army; Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain, whose military experience
and honors won were altogether remarkable; and many others
equally worthy of mention here did the limits of this sketch per-
mit. It may be remarked that three sons of Senator Fessenden
and two of Senator Hamlin served with distinction, one of each
family giving his life for the cause.
Soon after the capitulation of General Lee, the Maine troops
began to return home to their families and friends. The regi-
ments returned, sunburned, ragged and worn, sacred for their
losses and crowned with honor. Many flags had been captured,
but not one had been lost, by the gallant sons of Maine.
The troops furnished by Maine to the Union army during
the progress of the war comprised two regiments of cavalry;
one regiment of heavy artillery; three companies of garrison
artillery; one battalion of seven batteries of light artillery; one
battalion of six companies of sharpshooters; thirty regiments
and sixteen companies of infantry, inclusive of the coast-
guard battalion of seven companies, a total of 72,114; or, re-
duced to a three years standard, 56,776. In addition to the
above, the state was credited with a total of 6,750 men in the
navy and marine corps, and also furnished about 800 men for
the 1st D. C. cavalry, an independent organization under the
command of Col. L. C. Baker. It will thus be seen that Maine
contributed considerably more than one-tenth of her 'total popu-
lation' to the service of the nation. Of the numbers above
given, 2,801 were killed or died of wounds, according to the
army list; 4,521 died of disease; and 6,642 were mustered out
for disabilities resulting from casualties occurring in service
or from sickness.
The financial credit of the state was well sustained through-
out the war, notwithstanding upwards of $15,000,000 were
contributed in one way or another by her inhabitants to the
national cause. The funded debt of the state on Jan. 1, 1861,
was $699,500, as against $5,164,500 on Jan. 1, 1866, the in-
crease of $4,465,000 being due altogether to the extraordinary
expenses growing out of the war. From Jan. 1, 1861, to Jan.
1, 1866, the state expended for war purposes a total of $7,357,572,
of which $4,578,636 were paid for bounties. The amount
advanced by cities and towns for aid to families of soldiers to
Jan. 1, 1865, was $1,599,536. In addition to the above, the
cities and towns of the state contracted a debt of not less than
$6,556,183 for bounties. No one would have deemed it possible
that the state of Maine could have sent so many troops into the
field, or that she could raise such vast sums of money to meet
the expenses of the war.
Soon after the outbreak of the war, arrangements were made
to transmit such portions of the pay of persons in service as
they chose to allot for the benefit of their families or themselves.
State and municipal authorities cordially cooperated with the
war department in securing the acquiescence of soldiers in
this wise arrangement for the welfare of themselves and fami-
Everything possible was done by the state authorities and
by the better portion of the citizens of both sexes in aid of
the sick and wounded soldiers, and to improve the sanitary
conditions of Maine troops in the field. State agencies for
the relief of the disabled and destitute soldiers of the state
were maintained at New York, Philadelphia and Washington.
Among the many who labored in this splendid work, were
George R. Davis, agent of the U. S. Sanitary Commission,
Portland; Cols. Frank E. Howe of the New England Soldier's
Relief Association, New York; Robert R. Corson, Philadelphia;
and Charles F. Mudge of the special relief department of the
U. S. Sanitary Commission, Boston. The Washington Relief
Association, composed of citizens of Maine residing in Wash-
ington, was a potent agency for good in relieving the wants
of wounded, sick and destitute soldiers in and near that city.
In conclusion, it may be truly said that Maine gave unstint-
edly of her treasure of her best blood to secure the perpetuation
of the Union. Nearly every home had its martyr, a willing sac-
rifice on the altar of country. The record of the Pine Tree
State throughout the long four-years' struggle was indeed a
glorious one, and will challenge comparison with that of any
other of the loyal states.

See also Maine Civil War History

Source: The Union Army, vol. 1


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