2nd Maine regiment at Christmas, 1861Item 5202 info
Maine Historical Society
Bridges officially enlisted in the 2nd Maine on May 28, 1861, as a corporal. The 2nd Maine was the first regiment to leave the state, and did so with the kind of patriotic fanfare that typified the high spirit of the war's early days.
Crowds gathered to watch as the regiment marched through Bangor to the railway station. The Bangor Ladies presented the regiment with a new American flag and Vice President Hannibal Hamlin spoke in celebration of the patriotism of the "Bangor Regiment," as it came to be called – men from the counties of Penobscot, Hancock, and Waldo counties made up the vast majority of its members.
The 2nd Maine gained a reputation for toughness in two years of brutal battles: First Bull Run, Yorktown, Hanover Court House, Gaines' Mill, Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Antietam (in reserve), Shepherdstown Ford, Fredericksburg (where Bridges was wounded), and Chancellorsville.
The 2nd Maine was mustered out in May 1863 when the regiment’s two-years' contract expired, but the war was not over for Bridges and the Mudgetts, who would look south to find new opportunities in a changing conflict.