Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 1861

I get the impression, from the various accounts of the first Thanksgiving of the Civil War, that  the holiday experience was different for each regiment. 

In a letter from C. (a member of Company D), published in the Maine Farmer December 5, 1861 - "28th. To-day has been Thanksgiving Day in the army.  Thanksgiving! what pleasing recollections cluster around that day!  Visions of the past from childhood to maturer years come thronging back upon the memory.  Joyous meetings of dear friends, happy firesides and festive scenes in our bright northern homes, feastings, jolity, and thankfulness!  Our Thanksgiving here is graver; mirth and feasting enter not into its arrangements; but the true thankfulness of the heart should - thankfulness that we are preserved alive when so many others are falling around us - that so many successes have crowned our arms, and that our cause is moving steadily and grandly on to certain triumph.  We may suffer, we may fall, yet we are thankful that God has made us the instruments of so much good to the human race.  Our Thanksgiving dinner was soup and hard bread - and it was hard.  There were no drills to-day, but the regulations were read to the boys in the afternoon.  This evening another solemn  procession passed through the camp, bearing another comrade to his last resting -place upon the hill.  Thus end the day in sadness, and the rain is falling gently upon our canvas roofs like angels' tears of pity and sympathy." 

In Maine Thanksgiving was celebrated on November 21, 1861. "Annual Thanksgiving in Maine, November 21, 1861, the day of the anniversary of the signing of the immortal compact on board the Mayflower, by our Pilgram fathers and the day that venerated band first trod the soil of New England."
(pg. 70 Minutes Of The General Conference Of The Congregational Churches In Maine At Their Thirty-Six Annual Meeting Held With The High Street Congregational Church, Portland June 24, 25, and 26, 1862. Printed by Brown Thurston. Portland 1862.)


On November 24th 1861 another soldier at Camp Griffin, William A. Bowers, from Company K wrote to his sister Eliza, "You [wanted] to know about Thanksgiving.   I [will] tell you how we spent the day,   and what we had for dinner. I come from picket about ten o’clock in the morning, and had breakfast of hard bread and salt beef, and for dinner, it was pea soup— and three [cups] water to one pea, and burnt in the bargain!— and hard bread, and for supper, hard bread and coffee. That [was] my Thanksgiving." ( William to Eliza, 24 November 1861, W. B. Pillsbury Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mi.)


Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

Blogger's Note:  In honor of all the 7th Maine men on Veteran's Day I post a letter written by Corporal John Babson Jennings of Leeds Maine who belonged to Company K.  John's letter is a wonderful piece of history that keeps him and the people he writes about alive.  Their role in history is recorded for future generations to appreciate the sacrifices they made to preserve our country.


               Griffins Hill Va Nov 8 1861


                      Dear Father


I now take my


pen in hand to write you a


few lines I am well and are


having a good time we left


Washington yesterday and came


acrost Chain Bridge into Va


we are clost to Fairfax Court


House the 6 Maine Regt is here


by the side of us we are in


General Smiths Division we


are clost to Munson hill


you ought to see the regt here


the tents are so thick that it


looks like snow for as far as


you can see It looks like


War, the report her[e] is that the


fleet has taken Charleston S.C.

page 2

whether it is true or not

I do not know I here enclose

ten dollars of the of the United States

bank you never saw one did

you it is good as gold. I

wished that you would take

Mother and Sis and have your

miniature taken in a thin case

and send it to me it will not

cost more than a quatter1 to

send it to me I would

like to have them first rate

Direct to Washington DC Company K

7 Maine regt
                                     Your Son
                                     J.B.J-
1 - quarter
(Pension file of John B. Jennings)
The 7th Maine crossed the Chain Bridge into Virginia on November 7, 1861. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blogger's note

I apologize for the lack of postings.  I have been having some trouble with my left arm not healing the way it should and I have to type one handed.  I feel like I have let my 7th Maine men down by not posting the way I wanted to post.  So starting today I am going try and get back on track. 

Bobbie:-)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

149 years ago today, late afternoon, a gallant charge

Casualties in the Seventh Me. Regiment
in the Battle of Antietam
Company A
Lieut. J.G. Butler - missing
Private James Lewin, Houlton - killed
Private Roger B. Haines, Houlton - wounded
Private Charles H. Wolhampter, Monticello - wounded knee, severe
Private Richard Keating, Houlton - wounded and missing
Corporal Augustus L. Merritt, Maysville - foot, severe
Company B
Captain James P. Jones - wounded slightly
Lieut. William L. Haskell, Acting Adj't, Poland - wounded both legs, severe
1st Serg't J. C. McKenney, Phippsburg - missing
Private Thomas Crawford, Bath - killed
Private Calvin Elders, Bath - hip, slightly
Private John Skolfield, Bath - foot, slightly
Corporal Crossman Timmings, color corps, Bath - knee, slight
Private E. M. Tobey, Bath - missing
Private M. M. Hatch, Lewiston - leg, severe
Private Addison Grant, Frankfort - side, severely
Private William York, Skowhegan - thigh, mortal
Private Timothy Merro, Vassalboro - arm, slight
Private Charles B. Hawes, Union - missing
Private William H. Holbrook, Emden - missing
Private C.B. Thoits, Pownal - missing
Company C
Lieut. A. M. Benson - hip,slight
Serg't Eli McLaughlin, Oldtown - missing
Corporal W. A. McPheaters - hip, severe
Corporal A.S. Harmon, Lincoln - leg
Private George E. Bragg, Detroit - leg, severe
Private William C. Stickney, Springfield - arm
*Private Moses W. McKay, Oldtown - wounded
Company D
Lieut. Charles A. Goodwin, Dresden - killed
Color Serg't Harry Campbell - killed
1st Serg't A. K. Burroughs, Houlton - leg, flesh wound
Serg't Flavell H. Goodwin, Biddeford - killed
Corporal George D. Saunders, Minot - both legs, severe
Private Horace Ross, Bowdoin - leg, severe
Private Charles P. Penbrook, Bath - leg, severe
Private Jacob Page - shoulder, severe
Private Joseph E. Babb, Bowdoin - leg, slight
Private Thomas A. Richards, Dresden - missing
Company E
Lieut. A. F. Emery, Kendall's Mills - abdomen, slightly
Private Rufus Preble, Winslow - killed
Private Thomas Hennabry, Hartland - killed
Corporal N.S. Burrill, Hartland - hand
Corporal S. R. Tuttle, Fairfield - hand, slight
Private Abram Batchelder, Pittsfield - arm, severe
Private E. H. Hammond, Pittsfield - foot, severe
Private Thomas Dolan, Portland - arm, slight
Company F
Lieut. L. M. Shorey- foot, severe
Private Fred C. Tibbets, Athens - killed
Private C. B. Chase, Canaan - shoulder, ankle and leg
Corporal W. H. Benson, Athens - hip, slight
Private Hiram Wixon, Albion - hand
Private Israel A. Foster, Portland - leg, severe
Private Patrick O'Brian, Portland - leg, mortal
Private E. Townsend, Portland - hand, severe
Private H.D. Philbrick, Skowhegan - hand, slight
Private B.C. Studley, China - missing
Company G
Serg't William H. Motly, Portland - face, severe
Serg't James H. Armstrong, Portland - shoulder, severe
Corporal Robert H. Jackson, Naples - foot, severe
Private Charles H. Waterhouse, Portland - thigh
Color Corporal William P. Nason, Portland - leg, slight
Private John R. Begg, Portland - arm, severe
Private J.H. Norton, Bath - missing
Private Dennis Coffer, Bath - face, severe
Private Edward Murphy - elbow, severe
Private James H. Johnson - leg, mortal
Private J. H. Cobb, Saccarappa - foot, severe
Private Alvah J. Sprague, Bath - taken prisoner
Private Charles J. B. Smith, Portland - missing
Private James W. Lent, Richmond - missing
Private T. J. Waterhouse, Scarboro - missing
Company H
Lt. Henry Warren, Bangor - missing
Private J.F. Commey, Oldtown - killed
Private G.W. Hodgkins, Stetson - missing
Private G. R. Boyer, Bangor - hip
Private C. H. Eddy, Clifton - hand, slight
Private O. J. Rowe, Clifton - leg, severe
Private E. Debeck - foot, slight
Company I
Captain John B. Cook - leg, severe
Lt. Harlow P. Brown, Bethel - killed
Corporal Enoch B. Turney - leg, severe
Private W.T. Jordan, Strong - side, severe
Private Lewis E. Hardy, Hampden - leg
Private D. Hartford - foot
Private A. B. Whittier - leg
Company K
Captain G.P. Cochran - ankle, severe
Corporal E. Collins, Lewiston - leg, slight
Color Corporal J.G. Carver, Lewiston - side, severe
Private H. Baker, Bowdinham - killed
Private G.W. McKenney - hip, severe
Private J.A. Wilcox - leg, severe
Private E. S. Fargo - hand, slight
Private P. McHannan, Lewiston - missing
Private G. H. Putney - missing
Private G. B. Hall - wounded and missing
N. C. Staff
Serg't Major John B. Parsons, Houlton - killed
Those reported missing may some have been taken by the enemy, some killed, and their bodies not identified, and some have found their way to some remote hospital.
Thos. W. Hyde
Major Commanding 7th Maine Vols.
Lewiston Falls Journal
Lewiston, Maine
October 2, 1862
*From Maine Adjutant Generals Report Vol. II page 173

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Journey Continues.....

The steamer Bay State went "passing up the Sound between the Long Island and Conneticut shores." On the morning of the 24th the regiment touched at New York where they changed boats for Elizabethport, NJ. Upon reaching there they boarded the cars for Baltimore via Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The night long train ride found the men of the 7th sleeping on the hard seats and straw covered floors of the cars. The morning of the 25th found them in York, Pennsylvania where they met the first troops that had seen action, "red caps".  The route southward from York to Baltimore seemed “semi hostile” with soldiers posted along their route, but before long they arrived in Baltimore and camped in the western part of the city.  (From a letter to the Maine Farmer written August 26th and printed on Sept. 5th 1861 by a member of Co. D.)



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

150 years ago today

Below is a paraphase of a letter written on
Aug. 26th by a member of Co. D, 7th Maine Regiment and published on Sept. 5th in the Maine Farmer. 

On August 23rd 1861 the 7th Maine Regiment began their journey south to join in the fight to preserve the union.  They would strike tents at 1:00 a.m. at their camp in Augusta and three hours later were marching to the train depot to board the cars.  They arrived in Boston at 4:00 p.m. and marched from the train station to Faneuil Hall where they were fed a splendid supper.  After resting and filling their haversacks rations the regiment marched to the Fall River depot where they boarded the cars again and by midnight were on the steamer Bay State.

The 7th Maine Regiment -The following companies compose the 7th Me. Regiment, rendezvoused at Augusta:          

Houlton Company, Capt. Freeze, (Company A)
China Company, Capt. Jones, (Company B)
Unity Company, Capt. Robinson, (Company C)
Bath Company, Capt. Hyde, (Company D)
Fairfield Company, Capt. Conner, (Company E)
Biddeford Company, Capt. Cushman, (Company F)
Portland Company, Capt. Gilman, (Company G)
Bangor Company, Capt. Cass, (Company H)
Presque Isle Company, Capt. Rolfe. (Company I)
Monmouth Company, Capt. Norris, (Company K)

Seven of the above companies were in camp Friday last.  Two others came in on Saturday, and the other, the Monmouth Co., arrived on Monday.

(Bath Times). August 19, 1861 The Lewiston Daily Evening Journal - Lewiston, Maine.