For Mainers like many other people in both the North and the South, the Civil War, which lasted from 1861-1865, had a profound effect on their lives. Letters, artifacts, relics, and other items saved by participants at home and on the battlefield help illuminate the nature of the Civil War experience for Mainers.
Sgt. Charles Bridges of Co. B of the 2nd Maine Infantry was close to the end of his two years' enlistment in early 1863 when he took advantage of an opportunity for advancement by seeking and getting a commission as an officer in the 3rd Regiment U.S. (Colored) Volunteers.
In the 1950s and the 1960s, Maine's Civil Defense effort focused on preparedness for hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters and a more global concern, nuclear war. Civil Defense materials urged awareness, along with measures like storing food and other staple items and preparing underground or other shelters.