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Maine Memory Network

Remembering

This slideshow contains 26 items
1
Confederate canteen, ca. 1863

Confederate canteen, ca. 1863

Item 84243 info
Maine Historical Society

Relics Saved

For many men and women, the Civil War was a transformative experience, one to be remembered – for good or ill.

Most likely, they had never been in or seen a battle.

The war might have been their first time outside of Maine, first travel by ship or rail, or first encounter with slavery or African-Americans.


2
Civil War shell relics, ca. 1864

Civil War shell relics, ca. 1864

Item 83697 info
Maine Historical Society

Wartime experiences so affected the soldiers, nurses, and others that they sought ways to remember.

Relics picked up on a battlefield may have had particular meanings since lost to descendants who, nevertheless, saved the artifacts.

Grenville Sparrow of Portland, who served at ranks from sergeant to captain in Co. A of the 17th Maine Infantry, collected these shell relics from battlefields during the war.


3
Hotchkiss shell base cap, 1863

Hotchkiss shell base cap, 1863

Item 84656 info
Maine Historical Society

The Hotchkiss shell was the most common Union artillery shell – fired from mounted rifles.

A note inside this shell reads: "Piece of rifle shell. Found in the ruins of Charleston S.C. May 1865 C. W. Cleveland."

The shell was used during one of the battles at Charleston in 1863.


4
Slave shackles, ca. 1862

Slave shackles, ca. 1862

Item 6644 info
Maine Historical Society

Capt. Charles C. G. Thornton of the 12th Maine filed the collar from the neck of a black field hand who came inside federal lines at Ponchartrain, Louisiana, in 1862.

Thornton wrote: "The collar originally had three iron prongs reaching to the top of the man's head and was fastened by the chain to a shackle around his ankle, carrying a 10-pound ball.

"He said he had worn it a year and the condition of his neck and ankle, calloused in deep ridges, verified his word. The prongs and ball he had got rid of before he reached our lines.

"The irons were put on him because when forbidden to visit his wife, who had been sold to a planter living ten miles away, he ran away. He was recaptured and his master caused irons to be riveted on him."


5
Battle of Gettysburg shell fragment, 1863

Battle of Gettysburg shell fragment, 1863

Item 84662 info
Maine Historical Society

Relatives and friends kept letters or other relics soldiers sent home, urged to do so by soldiers or because the letters might be the best remembrance in case the soldier should join the unthinkable number of those sacrificed.

The iron base plate for a 12-pound canister shot was found near Little Round Top at the Gettysburg battlefield.


6
Lead bullet relic, Gaines Mill, ca. 1862

Lead bullet relic, Gaines Mill, ca. 1862

Item 82259 info
Maine Historical Society

The lead bullet, found at the Gaines Mill battlefield in Virginia, is deformed from firing.


7
Confederate spurs, ca. 1863

Confederate spurs, ca. 1863

Item 83773 info
Maine Historical Society

Confederate relics were especially popular among Union soldiers.

Windsor B. Smith of Union, a sergeant in Co. K of the 1st Maine Cavalry, collected the Confederate brass spurs as a war relic.


8
Libby Prison key, ca. 1863

Libby Prison key, ca. 1863

Item 84665 info
Maine Historical Society

Capt. Grenville Sparrow of the 17th Maine kept the key – said to be from a lock on a cell at Libby Prison in Richmond – as a war souvenir.


9
Civil War hardtack, ca. 1864

Civil War hardtack, ca. 1864

Item 84233 info
Maine Historical Society

Hardtack – a hard and dry cracker – was a staple food item for soldiers.

Soldiers sometimes put the hardtack in coffee to soften it and to remove possible insects.

This piece has weevil carcasses inside.


10
Civil War cigar relic, 1862

Civil War cigar relic, 1862

Item 84253 info
Maine Historical Society

Major Thomas W. Hyde of the 7th Maine sent this cigar to John Marshall Brown of Portland with a letter explaining that a soldier, while on picket duty, took tobacco from an estate on the Chickahominy River.

Hyde wrote, "The men make large numbers of them and we call them the Chickahominy Brand. The tobacco is the best raised in Virginia."

Hyde, an 1861 graduate of Bowdoin College, won the Medal of Honor in the war.

Brown enlisted in the 20th Maine in 1862, rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and was brevetted a colonel and a brigadier general.

After the war, Hyde returned to Bath and founded Bath Iron Works. Brown returned from the war to run his family's sugar factory and other businesses.


11
U.S.S. 'Cumberland' line, ca. 1860

U.S.S. 'Cumberland' line, ca. 1860

Item 84433 info
Maine Historical Society

The coil of line was cut from the rigging of the foretop of USS Cumberland after the Rebel steamer Merrimac at Hampton Roads, Virginia, March 9, 1862 sank her.

The Rev. Zenas Thompson, chaplain of 6th Maine, obtained the hemp line after the battle.

Thompson, of Portland, served as chaplain from July 1861 to July 1862.


12
Civil War token, ca. 1863

Civil War token, ca. 1863

Item 84667 info
Maine Historical Society

Patriotic tokens – with slogans such as "Army and Navy," "The Federal Union, It Must and Shall be Preserved," "Our Army," and "Union" – were used as coins because of a shortage of government-issued small coins during the war.


13
2nd Maine Regiment flag fragment, 1861

2nd Maine Regiment flag fragment, 1861

Item 80799 info
Maine Historical Society

Horatio Staples of Bangor, a sergeant in Co. G of the 2nd Maine received this gift of a regimental flag.

Staples, who fought in both battles of Bull Run, enlisted in May 1861. When he was mustered out in June 1863, he was a 1st lieutenant.

Sgt. William J. Deane of Bangor of Co. A carried the flag for the regiment. The label on the back of the flag, reproduced here, tells its story.


14
Flag relic, 16th Maine, ca. 1863

Flag relic, 16th Maine, ca. 1863

Item 82258 info
Maine Historical Society

Soldiers in the 16th Maine knew they were about to be overtaken by Confederate troops on July 1, 1863 at Gettysburg.

To prevent their flags from being captured, they tore them in pieces and hid the pieces on themselves.


15
16th Maine flag fragment, ca. 1863

16th Maine flag fragment, ca. 1863

Item 82257 info
Maine Historical Society

Col. Charles W. Tilden kept the small fragment that is mounted on a field of red and white stripes in his mouth to protect it.

He also saved the section of red and white stripes, protecting it even while imprisoned at Libby Prison.

He sent it to his "companion" and lieutenant, Francis Wiggin in 1914, and wrote that the flag pieces were "not to be surrendered to any one, friend or foe."


16
Bosworth Memorial Hall pamphlet, Portland, ca. 1960

Bosworth Memorial Hall pamphlet, Portland, ca. 1960

Item 84621 info
Maine Historical Society

Postwar Observances

After the war, survivors and communities throughout the state and nation – both North and South – continued to recall the war.

Veterans groups met regularly, regiments held reunions, and towns built monuments, sometimes engraved with names of those who died.


17
GAR encampment, Portland, 1887

GAR encampment, Portland, 1887

Item 20594 info
Maine Historical Society

Maine formed 167 posts of the veterans group, the Grand Army of the Republic.

George H. Jones of Oxford, who served for five weeks as a musician in 1865, never leaving the state, headed the national GAR in 1943-1944, about a decade before the group disbanded, replaced by organizations of sons and daughters of veterans.


18
Grand Army of the Republic banner, ca. 1885

Grand Army of the Republic banner, ca. 1885

Item 84271 info
Maine Historical Society

The Bosworth Post #2 of the Department of Maine, Grand Army of the Republic, located on Free Street in Portland, received its charter in September 1867.

The group adopted military language: they "mustered in recruits," and had a post quartermaster, an adjutant, and a surgeon.

In May 1868, when the GAR post acquired a lease for "Mr. Clapp's Hall," members "formed into company with the equipments and paraphernalia, and … marched to the new Hall."


19
Frederic W. Bosworth portrait, Portland, ca. 1868

Frederic W. Bosworth portrait, Portland, ca. 1868

Item 84196 info
Maine Historical Society

Pvt. Frederic William Bosworth of Portland was 19 when he enlisted in Co. A of the17th Maine on August 18, 1862.

Appointed sergeant major, he was killed one year later, on August 15, 1863 at Wapping Heights, Virginia, the only 17th Maine casualty in that battle.

A printed eulogy to Bosworth hung on the wall at the Bosworth Post #2 Grand Army of the Republic hall on Free Street in Portland.

The son of the Rev. George W. and Louisa Bosworth, Frederic had wanted to enlist earlier, but was deemed too young. After joining the 17th Maine, he did clerical work for the regiment and brigade before being appointed sergeant major and returning to his regiment.


20
Department of Maine Grand Army of the Republic, Portland, 1885

Department of Maine Grand Army of the Republic, Portland, 1885

Item 83774 info
Maine Historical Society

In 1885, when this photograph of Maine GAR officers was taken, there were 130 GAR posts in Maine with a total membership of 8,235.

The year was an important one for the Maine GAR as it hosted the Nineteenth Annual Encampment of the National GAR in Portland.


21
GAR banquet program, Portland, 1900

GAR banquet program, Portland, 1900

Item 84227 info
Maine Historical Society

The GAR held regular local and national encampments – reunions.

The program cover for a banquet and campfire held in 1900 in Portland, features common Civil War imagery – soldiers at battle and in camp, in front of conical tents, and flags.


22
Argyle D. Morse memorial, ca. 1890

Argyle D. Morse memorial, ca. 1890

Item 83766 info
Maine Historical Society

Argyle D. Morse of Rockland was 21 when he enlisted in the 2nd Maine Sharpshooters in November 1861 as a private. He was later promoted to corporal and served until November 1864.

Morse's memorial follows a standard printed format that could be used for any soldier. The specifics of his service are marked with symbols next to the battles in which he participated. Note that he was taken prisoner and "disabled by exposure" at Gettysburg.

Morse survived the war and was a businessman in Portland, dealing in hay, wood, and straw, then in coal.


23
MOLLUS annual dinner program, Portland, 1897

MOLLUS annual dinner program, Portland, 1897

Item 84633 info
Maine Historical Society

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the U.S., founded shortly after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, was as a veterans' organization for Union officers.

Besides its annual dinners, the Maine MOLLUS held frequent programs where veterans read papers about their experiences in the war or about particular battles or campaigns.


24
Holman Melcher GAR badge, Portland, ca. 1870

Holman Melcher GAR badge, Portland, ca. 1870

Item 84689 info
Maine Historical Society

Holman Melcher of Topsham joined the 20th Maine as a corporal, was later promoted to captain, and was brevetted as a major.

This Grand Army of the Republic badge indicated his membership in the Portland Bosworth Post of the veterans' organization.

After the war, he was a wholesale grocer in Portland and was active in the GAR and other civic groups. Melcher served as Portland's mayor in 1889 and 1890.


25
GAR encampment badge, Boston, 1904

GAR encampment badge, Boston, 1904

Item 84684 info
Maine Historical Society

The badge identified its wearer as being from Maine and the Bosworth GAR Post in Portland.

The wearer attended the 1904 national GAR encampment held in Boston.


26
Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Portland, ca. 1900

Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Portland, ca. 1900

Item 82256 info
Maine Historical Society

The Portland Soldiers and Sailors monument, designed by Franklin Simmons, was erected in 1889-1891.

Its inscription reads: "Portland, To Her Sons Who Died for the Union" on the west side and, on the east, "1861 ––– 1865 More than four thousand men were enrolled from Portland in the Army and Navy for the War of the Rebellion. More than three hundred were killed in battle or died in service. Honor and grateful remembrance to the dead. Equal honor to those who daring to die survived."

Note the GAR Thatcher Post 11 on the upper floor of the building at left.


This slideshow contains 26 items