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Paperwork; Soldiers' Stories

This Exhibit Contains 27 Items
1
Letter on regimental forms, 1861

Letter on regimental forms, 1861

Item 70082 info
Maine Historical Society

Running the War

Paperwork was a crucial component of the war. Official reports and forms that clerks and quartermasters of companies and regiments filled out helped to keep track of the thousands of soldiers fighting for the Union, as well as the massive amounts of materials issued to support their efforts.


2
Letter on recruitment issues, Orono, 1861

Letter on recruitment issues, Orono, 1861

Item 50449 info
Maine Historical Society

Printed standardized forms and individual letters or certificates documented – often in duplicate – nearly everything that happened at the front, at headquarters, in hospitals, at relief agencies, and in Washington.


3
Col. George F. Shepley, ca. 1861

Col. George F. Shepley, ca. 1861

Item 78948 info
Maine Historical Society

Paperwork demands sometimes exceeded the usual records. Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley of Portland, for instance, served as military governor of Union-occupied Louisiana from December 1862 to 1864.

Shepley, U.S. attorney for Maine and a Democrat, was commander of the 12th Maine Regiment, which was sent to Louisiana as part of Gen. Benjamin Butler's 3rd Brigade.


4
Appointment of Col. George Shepley as Louisiana governor, 1862

Appointment of Col. George Shepley as Louisiana governor, 1862

Item 71041 info
Maine Historical Society

With Union victories, Shepley soon was named military commandant of New Orleans, then military governor of Louisiana. He was promoted to brigadier general.

Shepley kept letters received, copies of letters sent, books of official documents, books of copies of official letters, and uncountable other records of his time as the military governor, a post he also held in Union-occupied Richmond, Virginia.


5
Brig. Gen Shepley to Brig. Gen. Dow on pillaging, New Orleans, 1862

Brig. Gen Shepley to Brig. Gen. Dow on pillaging, New Orleans, 1862

Item 73965 info
Maine Historical Society

In his post, Shepley wrote and received hundreds of letters and signed hundreds of documents relating to topics as varied as repair of levees, status of slaves, fiscal needs of schools and orphanages, looting by Union soldiers, and requests for protection of Northern ships seeking to do commerce in Gulf ports.


6
Copy of Grant telegraph on Lee surrender, 1865

Copy of Grant telegraph on Lee surrender, 1865

Item 76625 info
Maine Historical Society

He oversaw the transition from a Confederate government in Louisiana to a Union military one and back to a civilian government that supported the Union.

In Richmond, he also helped the transition of the city from the end of war to civilian rule.

While serving in that post, he received a copy of Gen. U.S. Grant's telegram about Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender, an action that effectively ended the war.


7
Edward M. Patten, Portland, ca. 1861

Edward M. Patten, Portland, ca. 1861

Item 11515 info
Maine Historical Society

Edward M. Patten of Portland served as quartermaster for the 1st Maine Cavalry -- a job that made him responsible for ordering stores and other supplies -- and keeping much of the paperwork for the regiment.

He received his commission October 11, 1861 and resigned May 8, 1862. He is wearing a formal parade uniform.


8
Surgeon report on illness in New Orleans, 1862

Surgeon report on illness in New Orleans, 1862

Item 70234 info
Maine Historical Society

Enoch Adams, surgeon of the 14th Maine Volunteer Regiment, wrote a statement in early 1862 that was to be given to Acting Brig. Gen. George Shepley of the 3rd Brigade, stating that sleeping on the ground was the cause of illness among soldiers in the New Orleans area.

Adams, who was from Litchfield, enlisted as a surgeon on Nov. 25, 1861 in the 14th Maine Infantry Regiment. He served until May 9, 1864.

He wrote, "There is not a man sleeping on the ground that has not a cough."

Adams added, "I have urged bunks ever since our arrival and have been assured day by day that the lumber for them was coming to-morrow."

It was one of many letters Shepley received about problems in the military and in the community.


9
Report on seized ordnance, New Orleans, 1862

Report on seized ordnance, New Orleans, 1862

Item 70813 info
Maine Historical Society

Lt. Col. William K. Kimball of the 12th Maine Volunteers wrote to Shepley, Military Commandant of New Orleans at the time, to report that the troops stationed at the Mint in New Orleans had seized a variety of naval ordinance at the Naval Laboratory.

Kimball wrote that he awaited orders for its disposal.


10
Officers, 13th Maine Infantry, ca. 1862

Officers, 13th Maine Infantry, ca. 1862

Item 81264 info
Maine Historical Society

Soldiers' Stories

Maine sent 34 infantry regiments, along with units of cavalry, artillery and sharpshooters to the war. Most served with the Army of the Potomac, the Army of the Shenandoah, or in the Department of the Gulf.

In addition, 104 Mainers of color joined the newly formed regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops from 1863 to the war's end.

Mainers also served in the Navy, in regiments of other states, and in the "regular" army and Confederate regiments.


11
17th Maine Infantry volunteers, 1864

17th Maine Infantry volunteers, 1864

Item 4127 info
Maine Historical Society

Soldiers' letters reveal the range of their experiences – harrowing, exhausting, agreeable, or tedious. In addition to inquiring about family and friends and discussing the ordinary things of life, soldiers described battles, discussed politics and commanders, and expressed optimism, patriotism, fear, and concern that the Confederacy would be victorious.


12
Sgt. James Sanborn drawing, Virginia, 1863

Sgt. James Sanborn drawing, Virginia, 1863

Item 51340 info
Maine Historical Society

James G. Sanborn of Portland was 23 when he enlisted in Co. H of the 5th Maine Infantry Regiment on June 24, 1861 as a corporal. He was promoted to full sergeant on June 15, 1862.

Among his effects was this drawing of his winter quarters in 1863.

Written on the drawing is, "Winter Quarters of Sergeant Sanborn Tho Lawrence John Jordan & Anthony Gould Winter of 1863 at Hazel River, Va."

Sanborn was mustered out on July 27, 1864.


13
Letter from John Sheahan to his father, July 4, 1863

Letter from John Sheahan to his father, July 4, 1863

Item 9281 info
Maine Historical Society

John Parris Sheahan of the 1st Maine Cavalry, on the battlefield near Gettysburg, wrote a short note to his father in Dennysville.

"We have whiped the rebels and they are on the retreat," Sheahan reported on July 4, 1863. He said he was well, then signed the letter and sent it.


14
George H. Libby and Jesse B. Allen, 1861

George H. Libby and Jesse B. Allen, 1861

Item 5449 info
Maine Historical Society

Pvt. Cyrus Libby of the 5th Maine Regiment wrote to a friend in Gorham in September 1862, "Buisness haint verry driving just now all we have to do is to eat and lay round and smoke."

William Campbell of the 9th Maine, stationed near Charleston, South Carolina, wrote to his family about the Rebel victories in the area, the lives lost, and "this cruel war."

George H. Libby and Jesse B. Allen of Portland both enlisted in Co. A of the 12th Maine Infantry Volunteers in November 1861. They had their picture taken in December.

Both survived the war, although each was wounded. The photograph has faded, but the crayon coloring remains, leaving the soldiers' faces and other parts of the photograph white.


15
John Marshall Brown, Portland, ca. 1880

John Marshall Brown, Portland, ca. 1880

Item 25707 info
Maine Historical Society

John Marshall Brown, a native of Portland and an 1860 graduate of Bowdoin College, was commissioned first lieutenant and adjutant of the 20th Maine on Aug. 29, 1862.

He later became assistant adjutant general of volunteers, then captain in the 20th Maine. In June 1863, he was cited for rendering "most valuable services" at Gettysburg.

In May 1864, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 32nd Maine Regiment. Severely wounded at the battles before Petersburg on June 12, 1864, he was discharged and brevetted colonel and brigadier general.


16
John M. Brown officer sash, ca. 1863

John M. Brown officer sash, ca. 1863

Item 84634 info
Maine Historical Society

Brown wore the maroon sash, appropriate for all officers under the rank of colonel, around his waist.


17
John M. Brown shoulder strap, ca. 1864

John M. Brown shoulder strap, ca. 1864

Item 84635 info
Maine Historical Society

Brown's shoulder straps, which bear the eagle insignia for colonel, are non-regulation in that they have a double border, a larger than usual eagle, and are embellished with sequins.


18
John Marshall Brown private notebook, 1862

John Marshall Brown private notebook, 1862

Item 34733 info
Maine Historical Society

Brown's private notebook, dated from December 1862 to March 1863 includes brief descriptions of the day's events and the weather and a number of sketches.

Brown, whose family owned J.B. Brown & Sons sugar refinery and had other business interests, was quite active in Portland civic affairs, including the Maine Historical Society, after the war.


19
Shield of John Mahoney, 7th Maine regiment

Shield of John Mahoney, 7th Maine regiment

Item 1468 info
Maine Historical Society

John Mahoney of Augusta was 18 years old when he enlisted as a private in Co. B of the 7th Maine Regiment on August 21,1861.

Mahoney created the iconic shield showing the eagle with a ribbon in its mouth.

The eagle insignia was used in many ways during the war and the ribbon often contained patriotic messages.


20
John Mahoney, ca. 1865

John Mahoney, ca. 1865

Item 22669 info
Maine Historical Society

Mahoney was transferred to Co. B of the 1st Maine Veterans Infantry Regiment on August 21, 1864 and was discharged on February 21, 1865 -- because he was missing and unaccounted for.


21
John Day cartridge case, ca. 1861

John Day cartridge case, ca. 1861

Item 84637 info
Maine Historical Society

John W. Day of Berwick, a native of England, was 24 when he enlisted as a musician in Co. K of the 14th Maine Infantry as a drummer.

The cartridge case was among his possessions. It has a divided tin liner that held the musket cartridges.


22
John W. Day, 14th Maine, ca. 1863

John W. Day, 14th Maine, ca. 1863

Item 79452 info
Maine Historical Society

When the original 14th Maine, which served primarily in Louisiana, finished its three-year term, Day rejoined the reformed 14th as a musician in Co. C.

He served from Dec. 17, 1861 to August 28, 1865.


23
Infantry Tactics manual, 1862

Infantry Tactics manual, 1862

Item 79294 info
Maine Historical Society

Capt. James L. Hunt of Co. C of the 21st Maine Infantry carried this copy of Infantry Tactics, for the Instruction, Exercise and Manoeuvres of the Soldier, a Company, Line of Skirmishers, Battalion, Brigade, or Corps D'Armee."

Hunt, who was 37 when he enlisted in October 1862, was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 32nd Infantry in October 1864. He served until July 1865.

Many soldiers had copies of this book, which was small enough to fit in a pocket. Some reported studying it in hopes of gaining commissions as infantry officers.


24
Eben Calderwood identification ring, ca. 1862

Eben Calderwood identification ring, ca. 1862

Item 81064 info
Maine Historical Society

Eben Calderwood was a 39-year-old fisherman from Vinalhaven with five children when he enlisted in Co. H of the 21st Maine Regiment in October 1862. The nine-month regiment served in Louisiana. In April 1863, he wrote to his wife, Mary A. Calderwood, that he would only consider re-enlisting if he got a commission as second lieutenant.

Calderwood had the ring engraved with his name, hometown, company, and regiment. Since the government issued no identification tags, soldiers often bought medallions with their names engraved on them, made various types of identification tags, pinned their names to their clothing, or wrote their names and regiments on equipment – hoping to ensure identification if necessary.


25
Calderwood pension certificate, Augusta, 1867

Calderwood pension certificate, Augusta, 1867

Item 76035 info
Maine Historical Society

Calderwood died in May 1863, shortly before the regiment returned to Maine. According to a family story, he died from drinking water that had been poisoned.

In 1867, his widow, Mary, was issued a pension. The certificate notes that Calderwood had died in the "War of 1861, for the suppression of the Rebellion." She was paid $4 a month for support of their children.


26
T.J. Libby 12th Maine Regiment desk

T.J. Libby 12th Maine Regiment desk

Item 5517 info
Maine Historical Society

Thomas Jason Libby of Scarborough was 22 years old when he enlisted as a private in Co. C of the 12th Infantry Regiment, which was sent to Louisiana. The Union gained control of New Orleans and southern Louisiana in 1862 at which time Libby was assigned as an orderly sergeant with the Louisiana Native Guards.

Libby reportedly used this desk in that assignment.

The former Confederate unit, which had not been used in combat, was made up of free persons of color. Louisiana disbanded the guards, which then became the first black regiment in the Union army after the fall of New Orleans in 1862.


27
Copy of Gen. Halleck order on black troops, Washington, 1863

Copy of Gen. Halleck order on black troops, Washington, 1863

Item 75085 info
Maine Historical Society

The Union began accepting black soldiers – in all-black regiments – in 1863 as this order from Gen. Henry Halleck reports.

Many of the regiments formed in Louisiana with free blacks and newly emancipated slaves; all had white officers.

Black regiments also formed in Northern states. More than 100 men of color from Maine joined these regiments.


This Exhibit Contains 27 Items