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Recruiting; Outfitting

This slideshow contains 23 items
1
12th Maine recruiting poster, 1861

12th Maine recruiting poster, 1861

Item 78965 info
Maine Historical Society

Answering the Call

When President Abraham Lincoln put out his call for 90-day troops in April 1861, Maine's quota was one infantry regiment – 1,000 men.

But the Maine Legislature authorized 10 regiments and two-year enlistments. By war's end, Maine had supplied more than 70,000 soldiers and sailors, one of the highest percentages per capita in the North.

Even as the war dragged on, Mainers continued to enlist.

The recruiting poster reflects the patriotic imagery and theme of much Civil War era printing: an eagle entwined with a ribbon.

This one reads "Our Motto: The Whole Country." The 12th Maine was raised in the fall of 1861 as part of Gen. Benjamin's Butler's New England Division.


2
Recruitment notice for Civil War soldiers, 1863

Recruitment notice for Civil War soldiers, 1863

Item 20143 info
Maine Historical Society

Few of the new troops had military training or experience. Maine Adjutant General John L. Hodsdon wrote that the attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861 "found Maine as little prepared to furnish troops for maintaining the integrity of the Union, as it is possible to conceive."

The poster sought recruits for Col. Francis Fessenden's Veteran Regiment. Fessenden, the son of Senator and later Secretary of the Treasury William Pitt Fessenden, served in the regular army before his appointment as colonel of the 30th Maine Veteran Infantry in September 1863.

Bounties were an important method of recruiting soldiers. During the war, Maine's cities, towns, and plantations paid $9.7 million in bounties; the state paid $4.6 million. The money helped the family members left at home.


3
Civil War recruiting broadside, 1861

Civil War recruiting broadside, 1861

Item 6704 info
Maine Historical Society

Companies were formed within towns or from local regions. Friends, brothers, or sometimes fathers and sons joined and fought together.

Charles C.G. Thornton and Horatio Hight were the recruiting officers assigned to raise a company in Scarborough to serve with the recently formed 12th Maine Infantry.

Newly named colonel George F. Shepley of Portland was commander of the 12th Maine, which was known as the "Democrats and lawyers" regiment.


4
Isaac A. Pennell, New Portland, ca. 1863

Isaac A. Pennell, New Portland, ca. 1863

Item 59883 info
Maine Historical Society

When numbers were depleted, regiments sent recruiters back to Maine to encourage more enlistments.

Capt. Isaac A. Pennell of Co. A of the 16th Maine Infantry Regiment was detached for recruiting in Maine in July 1864. Pennell had been wounded at Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. He was discharged due to disability on October 14, 1864.

Pennell of New Portland enlisted as a 2nd lieutenant on July 30, 1862, when he was 27 years old. He was promoted to full 1st lieutenant in November 1862, and to full captain in March 1863.


5
James D. Maxfield, Newport, ca. 1863

James D. Maxfield, Newport, ca. 1863

Item 4302 info
Maine Historical Society

Written on this card is, "Respectfully yours J. D. Maxfield, Major, Volunteer Recruiting Service." Like Pennell, Maxfield belonged to Co. A of the 16th Maine Infantry.

He was a captain's clerk and was appointed sergeant major in 1863. Maxfield, of Newport, was 24 when he enlisted on August 14, 1862.

He was discharged for disability in September 1863, and then worked for the state of Maine to gain or process new recruits.


6
Volunteer enlistment form, Portland, 1862

Volunteer enlistment form, Portland, 1862

Item 23363 info
Maine Historical Society

Not all Mainers supported the war. Those with shipping interests who had lucrative relationships with cotton planters spoke against it, as did others.


7
Call to arms, Portland, 1861

Call to arms, Portland, 1861

Item 5382 info
Maine Historical Society

"Skedaddlers" left for Canada, and some men had front teeth pulled, rendering themselves unable to serve because they could not bite off the ends of paper ammunition cartridges.

When the draft was instituted in 1863, armed Kingfield residents protested, and some draftees paid substitutes to serve for them. Still, Maine met its quotas.


8
Captain Grenville F. Sparrow coat, ca. 1864

Captain Grenville F. Sparrow coat, ca. 1864

Item 4269 info
Maine Historical Society

Outfitting the Troops

Provisioning the Union and Confederate armies was a challenge to both sides. Early in the war, especially, standard uniforms, muskets, and other items were in short supply.

Officers, like Grenville Sparrow of the 17th Maine Infantry, had to supply their own uniforms and generally had them custom made by tailors.

Lieutenants and captains wore single-breasted jackets with nine buttons; senior officers wore double-breasted jackets.

The coat has Maine state buttons on it, rather than the standard infantry buttons.


9
Grenville Sparrow and friends, ca. 1864

Grenville Sparrow and friends, ca. 1864

Item 61515 info
Maine Historical Society

Each regiment required a variety of equipment and clothing.

For example, during 1861, Maine's 1st Infantry Regiment was issued 1,519 pairs of trousers, 1,590 flannel shirts, 1,554 pairs of flannel drawers, 773 knapsacks, 745 haversacks, 740 canteens, 728 rifle muskets with bayonets, 30,000 each ball cartridges and percussion caps for muskets, 72 tents of various descriptions, 120 kettles, 765 deep tin plates, 222 iron forks, and 765 iron spoons, among other items of clothing and equipment.


10
Grenville F. Sparrow sword, ca. 1863

Grenville F. Sparrow sword, ca. 1863

Item 83633 info
Maine Historical Society

Grenville Sparrow, who served as a sergeant, then 2nd and 1st lieutenant, and finally as captain in the 17th Maine Infantry, carried this army-issued field sword during his time as a commissioned officer.

Officers rarely used the swords in battle.


11
Horatio and John Longfellow, Cornville, ca. 1862

Horatio and John Longfellow, Cornville, ca. 1862

Item 79282 info
Maine Historical Society

Brothers Horatio, left, and John Longfellow, both privates in Co. D of the 24th Maine Infantry Regiment, posed in their full military uniforms. The brothers, sons of Sarah and Samuel Longfellow of Cornville, enlisted on September 20, 1862 when John was 19 and Horatio 18 years old. They were mustered out on August 25, 1863.

The brothers served in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana, area. Both survived the war, although John suffered from swamp fever and its effects and died in 1890. Horatio died in 1914.


12
John M. Brown infantry cap, ca. 1864

John M. Brown infantry cap, ca. 1864

Item 83640 info
Maine Historical Society

Soldiers were not always happy with the provisions they received.

Clothing and equipment could be unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

Soldiers carried about 40 pounds of muskets, ammunition, uniforms, blankets, eating and cooking materials, and other items.


13
Union waist belt buckle, ca. 1861

Union waist belt buckle, ca. 1861

Item 83649 info
Maine Historical Society

Often, while marching, they shed coats, rigid knapsacks, or other items they thought they would not need or did not want to carry.

Albert H. Burroughs, a native of Houlton, wore the plate or buckle for a waist belt. A sergeant in Co. D of the 7th Maine Infantry Burroughs was wounded in April 1862 at Antietam and honorably discharged for disability. He had enlisted in August 1861 at age 19.

After a short business career, he studied medicine. He practiced in Westbrook starting in 1878.


14
Grenville Sparrow cartridge belt, ca. 1862

Grenville Sparrow cartridge belt, ca. 1862

Item 61423 info
Maine Historical Society

Soldiers learned to mend their own clothing. Frequently, they also requested articles from family, friends, or relief agencies at home to supplement what was unavailable, had worn out, or was lost.

Grenville Sparrow wore this belt, holster, and cartridge case.

The case, with "A/17" on it, refers Sparrow's company and regiment and probably held pistol cartridges.

The belt was worn around the waist, and a sword – carried by officers – hung off the belt.


15
Soldier's  cartridge box, ca. 1863

Soldier's cartridge box, ca. 1863

Item 83658 info
Maine Historical Society

Infantry soldiers carried 40 rounds of ammunition – bullets and gunpowder charges wrapped in paper – in two tin compartments of their cartridge boxes.

These could be worn on the belt, but since they were heavy when loaded, they often were worn on belts over the left shoulder, with the box resting on the right hip.

This box was among Grenville Sparrow's possessions, but has the initials "L.W.P." scratched on the back.


16
Civil War infantry button, ca. 1861

Civil War infantry button, ca. 1861

Item 83674 info
Maine Historical Society

An "I" on the button indicated the wearer of the coat was an infantry soldier.

Soldiers could replace the standard buttons with those bearing the Maine state seal.


17
Mess kit, ca. 1863

Mess kit, ca. 1863

Item 4264 info
Maine Historical Society

A knife, fork, and metal plate/bowl were standard issue for soldiers, along with a tin cup. Soldiers carried these in a haversack – a long-handled bag often worn across the body – and carried food items like hardtack, dried beef, beans, salt pork, and coffee. The plate could also be used for cooking.

The mess kit belonged to Grenville Sparrow of Co. A of the 17th Maine.


18
William Black canteen, ca. 1861

William Black canteen, ca. 1861

Item 4268 info
Maine Historical Society

The words "Capt. Wm. H. Black, Co. K, 26 Maine, 1861-5" are painted in black on one side of the round canteen.

Black, of Ellsworth, served for nine months.

Given the dates on the canteen, the identification was added after the war.

Some soldiers put their names and regiments on canteens and other equipment, to aid in identification if they were killed or wounded.


19
George H. Libby knapsack, ca. 1861

George H. Libby knapsack, ca. 1861

Item 84451 info
Maine Historical Society

Soldiers often found rigid knapsacks, issued early in the war, uncomfortable, especially during long marches.

They sometimes discarded them, favoring the soft-sided version issued later.

Stenciled on the canvas is "George H. Libby Co. …" The company identification is unreadable. The name also appears in ink on the bottom of the knapsack.

Soldiers carried rolled rubberized blankets attached to the top of the knapsack. The blanket could serve as a raincoat, ground cloth, or tent.


20
Sparrow long underwear, ca. 1862

Sparrow long underwear, ca. 1862

Item 65558 info
Maine Historical Society

The wool long underwear belonged to Capt. Grenville Sparrow of the 17th Maine.

Some soldiers had never seen long underwear before and were uncertain what to do with it.

Wool, though warm, could also be uncomfortable, leading some soldiers to discard the underwear.


21
Springfield musket, ca. 1848

Springfield musket, ca. 1848

Item 84638 info
Maine Historical Society

Muzzle-loaded muskets like this, with a bayonet that could be attached, were common during the war. Most were rifled, helping to propel the bullets.

Soldiers bit the end off the paper cartridge that held the iron ball and gunpowder, poured both into the barrel, used a ramrod to seat them, and added a percussion cap under the hammer. The weapon was then ready to fire.


22
Confederate Lorenz musket, 1862

Confederate Lorenz musket, 1862

Item 84639 info
Maine Historical Society

Mjr. Sidney Warren Thaxter of the 1st Maine Cavalry collected this rifle-bore Confederate Lorenz musket and gave it to MOLLUS, a veterans' organization.

These imported rifled muskets were commonly used during the war.


23
Civil War bayonet, ca. 1864

Civil War bayonet, ca. 1864

Item 84640 info
Maine Historical Society

This bayonet, which appears to have been intentionally bent at the end, was found at Petersburg, Virginia, in April 1865.

It may have been modified for use in removing bodies from the battlefield.

"U.S." is stamped just below the blade.


This slideshow contains 23 items