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Mainers Go To War

Falmouth July 12 1781
Young Son … Joseph and John gone to Sea a Privetarriyin and your Brother Isaac moss that married your sister Hannah is at Sea to the Wast indias I have Not hurd from you Sincs Last October I Should Be Suray glad to Hear from you to know the Reason that you are Not at Home … the farm Lays Comon as all my sons is gon away I Should be glad if you Wold Come Home or Write to me the Reason of your Not Coming …
–– Jean Bayley

Friday the 20th
We do all we can for them – give one man a cup of tea and a slice of dry toast, another corn starch, another sago pudding, another crackers, anything we can think of to eke out their scanty meals. Some of them said they thought it was hard to be obliged to take whiskey and cinchona to give them an appetite when they could not get half food enough to satisfy their hunger.
–– Rebecca Usher, 1865

Maine's geographic location — bounded on two of its four sides by Canada, another by ocean, and only one, its shortest, by the United States — hints at its past as contested borderland and frontier zone. Some of those contests were settled by negotiation, but many escalated into violent conflicts.

Although Maine's native peoples conducted warfare over the centuries before the arrival of Europeans, their disputes were generally of short duration with specific ends in mind: capturing individuals for adoption or ritual torture, settling intertribal quarrels, or testing the courage and skills of their youth. War was as seasonal as hunting, and had its respected place in native culture.

Euro-American contests, however, were international affairs of devastating incidence and duration, displacing people, destroying property, and consuming enormous resources as they blazed across the region. For the first few centuries that settlers from afar inhabited Maine, wars on Maine soil were frequent – British and French fighting with one another for territory and Indians involved as friends or foes, often trying to protect their own territory and livelihoods.

Conflicts fought on home territory involve civilians and soldiers in the fighting and involve citizens as political leaders, supporting personnel to the military, and in keeping farms, families, communities and soldiers functioning.

When wars moved to other states or to other countries, the effects on the homeland changed, but disruptions remained. Those left at home took over work and chores usually done by the departed soldiers, death and injury changed families forever, and civilians were called on to support war efforts in a variety of ways.

Soldiers had many similar experiences across time, but once the wars moved from nearby to more distant land, the soldiers, nurses and others following them added new cultural experiences to the other effects of war. Soldiers were injured, killed, taken prisoner. Some returned and some did not, either because of death or opportunities elsewhere.

During each of these wars, not every eligible soldier went to war. The voices and actions of protesters, deserters, "shirkers," anti-war activists, and peace advocates have been heard throughout the region's history, overtly in protests or more quietly in refusals to serve or leaving the country. War has not been universally embraced.

Wars, and participation in them at any level, inspire passionate, touching and sometimes commonplace diaries, journals and letters. Wars also inspire memory – of time served, of sacrifices, and of the cost and effect on local communities. Official records of battles and soldiers, maps, paintings and drawings also inscribe the experiences. Other memories take the form of monuments, statues, and plaques commemorating service, speeches, and parades. Wars have touched most generations in some way.

Maine as Battlefield

Before the American Revolution, European competitions for trade, land, and influence dominated Maine's landscape. Maine Indians fought against European settlers to preserve their territory and sometimes negotiated alliances with Europeans. For Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and other native peoples, however, becoming allies with the Europeans must have been a bit like riding a whirlwind.

Beginning with King Philip's War in 1675 and ending with the American Revolution, Maine and New England experienced 50 years of fighting. Indeed, the entire colonial period was seared by various conflagrations among European powers and their allies. Mainers participated in and were affected by these conflicts on their home ground.

Most existing sources present the experiences of these struggles from the point of view of the European settlers. To imagine what the experiences of Maine Indians might have been, one needs to read between the lines. Europeans viewed Indians as dangerous, as different from themselves, and as threats to settlers' rights to fish, farm, and otherwise carry on business.

For instance, several settlers wrote in a 1676 document about how Indians "fired all the houses" on the Blackpoint side of Casco Bay. They "slew one man, took another prisoner, & wounded a third who escaped, with another who hid himself in the bushes and lay within two or three rods of them, heard all their discourse, who confidently affirmeth them to be 70 or 80 whom he saw ..."

The writer notes that one of the attackers was a Frenchman who asked "whether it were difficult to take Richmond Island & Blackpoint." The overheard question prompted inhabitants to leave their homes on Richmond Island.

Some 45 years later, in 1721, Massachusetts Bay Governor Samuel Shute wrote to Samuel Thaxter, commander of the military forces in York County, providing direction in dealing with the Indians.

"You are to take all possible Precautions your Self, & to give the strictest Orders to the Officers and Soldiers under your Command to avoid the Shedding of Blood, But if you are attack'd You are to Defend your Self with Courage and Conduct, And if any Place be assaulted you are to do your utmost to defend it, & give your Command to all the Inhabitants to take Arms and join you," Shute wrote.

He added, "You are to take especial Care that your soldiers be under good Government. That they behave civilly toward the Inhabitants & do not Straggle from their Post."

The colonists planned to hold their ground, but wanted to avoid starting trouble.

The battles, of course, never were a clear conflict between colonist and Indian. Some Indians were friendly with French colonists and joined with the French to try to stop English colonial expansion; some Indians were friendly with the British, or the Americans.

The average duration of the colonial wars –– King Philip's, King William's, Queen Anne's, Drummer's, King George's, French and Indian –– was seven years during which time Indian and settler families were displaced, crops destroyed, and villages razed. Most of the colonial conflicts resulted in temporary peace, redrawn borders, and British expansion.

The French and Indian War, the final conflict between colonial powers in the region, was the North American segment of a much wider Seven Years War that pitted English interests and allies against those of the French in the mid-18th century. Previous wars had already split Wabanaki tribes in Maine, disrupted leadership patterns, and eroded their territory. The war drove out the French and opened even more Wabanaki lands to English settlement as the English repeatedly disregarded Indian rights and treaty agreements.

Peace did not follow, however. The beginnings of the American Revolution in 1775 began a new era of conflict. Maine was divided in its allegiances by 1775 with some upholding ties to Britain, others pledging support to the rebellion, and others wishing not to be involved. Maine could not long avoid fighting, however, and the Revolution consumed coastal and inland towns alike as the British met resistance with growing force.

Still, the Revolution was different than the wars that preceded it. Maine's Indians had to choose sides or attempt to remain neutral, but the Colonial wars had largely settled the question of who was to rule the land known as Maine.

The story of the first naval battle of the American Revolution – the seizure of the British ship Margaretta in Machias Bay in 1775 is a good example of local involvement in war. Residents of Machias, upset about a local loyalist's plans to sell Maine lumber to the British in Boston, demanded that the British tender Margaretta surrender.

The British refused, the Machias residents fired on the ship, then followed it out of the harbor in a sloop and a schooner and captured the Margaretta. It was a local action, taken against a perceived threat only a few weeks after the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Other Revolutionary-era battles on Maine soil did not turn out as well.

One notable failure in the early days of the Revolution took place partially in Maine as Benedict Arnold set off up the Kennebec River valley through the trackless backwoods in the fall of 1775, leading a combination of raw and seasoned soldiers. Until he turned his coat, Arnold was one of Gen. Washington's most trusted officers during the American Revolution. As such he was charged with invading Canada and holding the French fortress in Quebec as a strategic maneuver against the English.

Maine's desolate wilderness and early winter almost did them in. Illness, exhaustion, frostbite, hunger, and despair weakened all and killed many before the survivors staggered forth into Canada nearly two months later utterly ill-equipped to hold so much as their heads up, let alone a fortress. Said one soldier before resting "on the cold, wet ground, hungry and fatigued," "such distress I never before felt or witnessed." The effort, valiant as it was, failed miserably.

Arnold and his troops interacted with sympathetic Maine residents along the way, bringing the hardships of the war close to home.

Also in 1775, the British burned Falmouth (Portland), possibly in retaliation for patriots capturing Lt. Henry Mowat several months earlier.

Massachusetts left Maine to its own defenses following the 1779 debacle of the Penobscot Expedition where an American fleet, largely comprised of Massachusetts militia and poorly trained privateers along with impressed seamen, charged with attacking the British in Penobscot Bay, ended up fleeing the enemy in panic and scuttling their ships upriver. Local militias thus became increasingly important to the district's survival.

As they had in previous colonial conflicts, Maine's Indians pursued their own path in the Revolution, generally preferring neutrality, but often siding with the Americans out of a combination of self-interest, genuine sympathy for the American cause, fondness for their former French partnership, and antipathy toward the British.

One piece of evidence, a letter written to a British commander at the St. John's River, suggests the St. Johns tribes employed this combination to rattle the English command in the east:

The chiefs, sachems, and young men belonging to the River St. John's have duly considered the nature of this great war. … They are unanimous that America is right and Old England wrong. … The river, on which you are with your soldiers, belongs from the most ancient times to our ancestors. … You know we are Americans; that this is our native country. … Now as the king of England has no business nor ever had any on this river, we desire you to go away with your men. … If you don't go directly you must take [care] of yourself, your men, and all your subjects on this river for if all or any of you are killed it is not our faults for we give you warning time enough to escape.

The letter ended with an assertive and, as it turned out, poignantly optimistic "Adieu for ever."

Lasting well into the 19th century, residue from colonial conflicts impacted the very shape of Maine. It didn't help that British soldiers hung around after the war with scant objections from the United States or Massachusetts, or that poorly drawn and mislabeled maps led to prolonged boundary uncertainties.

The Revolution did not really end for parts of Maine (still part of Massachusetts) until the War of 1812 concluded decades of conflicting claims along the coast, and the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 settled the long simmering border disputes in the northeast.

These resolutions provided development opportunities for trade and lumber interests, but the latter treaty also left the Acadian community along the upper St. John River straddling two separate nations.

Many residents of Maine and other parts of the region opposed the war and especially its embargo, which negatively affected the economy of the region.

In addition, the war left parts of eastern Maine – Castine and Belfast – occupied and Hampden burned by the British. Smuggling was rampant along the coast and resulted in many in the state more interested in separating from Massachusetts.

What was clear from these constant wars on Maine soil was that the coastline was difficult – if not impossible – to defend, that Maine could not rely on outsiders to defend its shores, and that wars sometimes destroyed communities and sometimes helped create them.

Effects at Home

Even when the war is not fought in Maine, the war effort can seem close.

In August 1917, Florence Spence of Sanford and several other young women organized the Home Service Company, a group that sought to help those in uniform by raising money, among other activities.

Open to women ages 16 to 25, the group held food sales and parties, planted crops to sell to the Girls Canning Club and planned other activities.

Further showing their support of the military, the girls wore uniforms with khaki dress and military hats and bestowed military ranks on officers and members. It was one of many civilian efforts to support America's involvement in the war.

World War II found Mainers sacrificing at home, aiding soldiers and the war effort, and coping with shortages, anxieties, and a changing world. Like Americans everywhere, Mainers listened intently to war news on their radios, planted victory gardens, recycled rubber and scrap metal, and squeezed yellow food coloring into their oleomargarine.

In the absence of razors and stockings, whose materials had been diverted to the war effort, some women even sandpapered the hair off their legs, coated their limbs in pancake makeup, and drew on a fake stocking seam with an eyebrow pencil.

Maine also housed German prisoners of war in Caribou, Presque Isle, Bangor, Spencer Lake, Princeton, and elsewhere with the main camp situated at the Army Air Base in Houlton. Dozens of such camps were established over the course of the war and were scattered across the country.

Farmers had gone to war and additional food and feed were needed. Aroostook farmers, with the blessings of the federal government, turned to the POWs in their midst for help with their potato crops. Interned Japanese-Americans served a similar function in some western states.

The state's most significant contribution to the war came in the form of naval transport and defense as shipyards large and small scrambled to convert to war craft production. Between them, Bath Iron Works, including the yard at South Portland, and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard at Kittery constructed iron freighters, destroyers, carriers, submarines, and Liberty ships, collectively supplying nearly a quarter of the U.S. Navy's big ships.

Smaller yards in Camden, Boothbay Harbor and elsewhere built wooden minesweepers and patrol boats. For the first time, these much-needed industries recruited and employed large numbers of women, who constituted about 18 percent of total employees.

The shipbuilding efforts were vast and successful. Maine-built destroyers like the USS Chevalier and USS Maddox fought in the Pacific against the Japanese, while Liberty ships like the Jeremiah O'Brien ferried fuel and supplies to a besieged Britain.

The destroyers O'Bannon, Nicholas, and Taylor, all built at Bath, won at least 15 battle stars each, among only nine naval ships to do so during the war. Nearly 1,400 vessels of all types and sizes were built in Maine shipyards between early 1942 and the conclusion of the war.

While shipbuilding was Maine's primary wartime industry, food production contributed much needed resources as well. Maine men and women also left the state to work in war production factories elsewhere in New England and the northeast. Others stayed put and served in civil defense preparedness for their towns, an activity particularly necessary for the state's harbor sites.

Kittery, Brunswick, and Portland housed U.S. naval stations beefing up the state's coastal defenses, but also making them a target of interest for German submarines patrolling the coast.

The government thus equipped Maine fishermen with radios to report German submarine sightings, the Coast Guard Auxiliary patrolled in donated private yachts, and the Civil Air Patrol flew regularly over the Gulf of Maine and the many harbors housed along its irregular coast.

The U.S. Army Air Force built several airfields in Maine to be used as training sites. Dow Army Air Force Base, now Bangor International Airport, included a field hospital. Most of the men trained at these bases came from outside the state, and pilots and crews studied enemy tactics and field identification along with learning how to fly combat missions.

In the 21st century, soldiers heading to and returning from Iraq and Afghanistan sometimes stop at Bangor International Airport. Volunteers gather there to warmly greet the troops and thank them for their service, further bringing the reality of the wars to Maine soil.

In Uniform

The experiences of individual soldiers, men and women, in wars from earliest European settlement to the 21st century offer a compelling picture of what war is like. There are heroes and heroines, and those soldiers no one hears much about.

The meaning of their service to the soldiers themselves can be seen in the organizations they form on their return – the Society of Cincinnati for Revolutionary War officers, the Grand Army of the Republic for Civil War veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars for those who served in the Spanish-American War and in the Philippine insurrection, the American Legion following World War I, and numerous others.

Despite some similarities for all soldiers, war service means different things to different veterans. For instance, London Atus, the black slave of James Lyon, a minister in Machias served several short-term enlistments during the Revolution. Listed as London Lyon in Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Revolution, Atus served from 13 days to 11 months in various capacities including artillery private, seaman, and general messenger.

He used his wages to purchase his freedom from Lyon, unknowingly just before Massachusetts eliminated slavery throughout the state and the district of Maine.

Some men who went off to the Civil War were fighting to preserve the union; some probably were opposed to slavery. Others, most likely, were caught up in the patriotic moment.

Unlike its experience in earlier conflicts, Maine's participation in the Civil War was almost exclusively from a distance by way of enlistments, supplies, private charities, and related volunteer efforts. The state itself was never seriously at risk, but that did not remove the emotional nature of the war or the immediacy of its effects for the soldiers who fought in Maine's 40-some regiments.

Maine was unusual in successfully recruiting its quota of volunteers for the army. Still it, along with other states, eventually offered state and town bonuses, thus adding economic inducements to patriotic ones.

John West Haley of Biddeford and Saco fought with the 17th Maine Regiment and kept a diary of his wartime experiences. He toted up the various bonuses ($140), praised the "men of means" who spawned such generosity, and concluded "it is touching to see the number of persons who are ready, even anxious, to sacrifice their relatives on the altar of their country. … Such high appreciation is almost enough to die for."

Haley fought at Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, each among the war's most grueling campaigns. He was among the scant 20 percent of his regiment who survived the war, and walked back from Virginia to his home in Saco at war's end.

In addition to his diary, Haley kept a roster of his company with entries such as "Loved rum more than country," "Always had a spasm of virtue when under fire," "Tough as a boiled owl," and "Had an uncommonly brave appetite." Of himself he said only "Below criticism. Poor fighter. Attained successful mediocrity as a soldier. Present all the time." Amongst the names, poignantly listed, are several sets of brothers.

The 20th Maine Regiment, serving under Gen. Joshua L. Chamberlain, a professor at Bowdoin College who was trained in theology, was one of several Maine regiments that achieved great success – and fame – at the Battle of Gettysburg.

The 20th Maine held the battle section known as Little Round Top during those three brutal days in July 1863. Having exhausted themselves and their ammunition, Chamberlain's men nonetheless successfully charged the Confederate troops at bayonet point, forced their surrender and turned the tide of combat.

The 20th Maine, like some other regiments, held reunions after the war, including at Gettysburg.

By World War I, some women as well as men were in uniform, although in supporting, non-combat roles as nurses. In World War II, women again served primarily as nurses, although the military added women clerks and women pilots who ferried planes, among other non-combat jobs.

Mainers have fought in many wars since the Civil War – the Spanish-American, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the two Gulf Wars, and Afghanistan, among others.

In all cases, those on the frontlines have the most direct experience of war, but the impact of their experiences and their service reach far into families and communities.

Writing in Wartime

The experiences of Maine soldiers and others involved in war efforts often have been captured in letters home to family and friends. These letters offer valuable insights into the ways soldiers and those at home think about wars.

William Bayley of Falmouth (Portland), a soldier in the Revolutionary War, wrote to his mother, rarely mentioning battles, but frequently discussing the hardships and deprivations soldiers faced – and the hardships and depravations his widowed mother faced as all her sons were gone to sea or to war.

In 1778, he wrote, "I am goodeal concerned for your welfare and wich that I able to support you but you know that my wages is vary low and every thing is vary dear I would not have you Suffer while you have any thing left that you can Sill to help your Self."

Some soldiers wrote of experiences that expanded their vision and understanding. Thomas Lindsey of Leeds wrote to his uncle from Maryland in June 1863, "this is the place for farming if you was out here you could get rich in five years a farming. The farmers out here are Lasy idle Fellows one smart man from Maine is worth a hundred of them one half of them don't have any barns they let thear cattle lay out doors all winter …"

Lindsey commented on other aspects of life outside Washington, D.C. He wrote, "I have been over the river [the potomac] twice since we have been here the people here are all Secesh they are Ignorant people they live in poor houses and most everyone owns a slave."

He, like Bayley in an earlier war, talked of the deprivations of a soldier's life. He wrote that he had been paid once, $22.10. He added, "I would not advise any man to enlist there is no man that knows what we have to suffer that has not tried it we have a hard time I tell you …"

But Maine men did not take Lindsey's advice. In total some 73,000 Mainers fought on the side of the Union during the war making Maine the largest per capita contributor of soldiers and seamen in the north; its soldiers fought in nearly every major engagement, suffering a casualty rate of 25 percent.

The state also supplied a goodly number of field officers and generals, and its women volunteered vital service in a variety of positions. Maine men and women did not mobilize at such strength again until asked to do so by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Second World War.

Death was a fact of war. Family and friends feared the letter or, later, the telegram that announced the death of a loved one. Some letters about their soldier sons' sacrifice were more personal. For instance, Harold N. Currier, bandleader of the 103rd Infantry, wrote to Emma and John Stowell of Freeport about the death of their son John Arthur during World War I.

He said Arthur "did his duty … with a fine disregard of danger, and an absence of fear that made him a steadying influence with whatever detachment he was with."

Currier also wrote, "So many come over here and die of disease back of the lines; other are gassed, or so badly wounded that the rest of their lives as well as their bodies are crippled – all that seems worse to me than this – the finest end that a man may have, literally giving his life for others."

Soldiers' letters from all eras and all wars describe battles, boredom, military life, friends, death and other realities of their lives. Nearly all focus, as well, on what is happening at the homes they have left, frequently asking questions about loved ones and sending regards to those at home.

For instance, Walter Hustus of South Portland, a prisoner of war in Austria, wrote to his mother in 1944, commenting that Sunday was Mother's Day. "I can just see you now out in the flower garden … How is everybody around the house. I sure hope your all well & doing the same as ever … I sure hope the hens are laying as the eggs sure come in handy I'll leave it up to you to write to everybody & let them know I'm all O.K. & not to worry."

Hustus was one of nearly 80,000 Mainers who served in World War II, more than in any previous war. Some 2,156 died.

Some soldiers earned "hero" status, including 49 from Maine who were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for Civil War service. One was Joshua L. Chamberlain of the 20th Maine for his heroism at Gettysburg, among other battles. Another, not as well known, was 14-year-old John Angling of Portland, a cabin boy aboard the U.S.S. Pontoosuc for his "gallantry and skill and for his cool courage while under the fire of the enemy…" on June 22, 1865.

Numerous other Mainers earned the Congressional Medal of Honor in other wars.

Women and War

Because the military did not accept women until World War I, and then on a very limited basis, Maine women had other roles during wartime.

Maine soldiers and their officers were the farmers, shopkeepers, laborers, and civic leaders of their communities, ordinary folks whose sisters, wives, and mothers knit stockings, rolled bandages and raised money for the war effort and support services for soldiers.

They gathered food and clothing for soldiers. They kept farms and homesteads operating while soldiers were gone. By the 20th century, they worked in war industries, taking the place of absent men. They wound bandages, wrote letters, raised children and operated businesses.

The Machias chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution calls itself the Hannah Weston Chapter in honor of the young wife, then a pregnant 17-year-old, who struggled, along with her sister-in-law, Rebecca, 16 miles through the woods to take much needed lead and powder to the fledgling local militia in Machias. The town was being threatened with attack from the English Captain Moor and his ship, the Margaretta.

Women throughout the area had spent hours melting lead and casting musket balls while their men harassed the British. Hannah Weston's resourcefulness, in tandem with Machias's belligerence, indicates in microcosm just how enmeshed were civilian and military affairs, and men's and women's contributions, within the colonial resistance of the period.

In the Civil War, Dorothea Dix, a native of Hampden who grew up largely in Vermont and Massachusetts, was perhaps the most famous of a well-organized brigade of women who contributed needed supplies, and nursed the Union's wounded soldiers. Most distressing for these women, the men they tended were more likely to die from infection and disease than from their wounds.

On April 10, 1863, the exact midpoint of the war, four Mainers from four different units died in Union hospitals. Each succumbed to a different illness: small pox, diphtheria, typhoid, and diarrhea.

Some women's actions took a different form. For example, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly in 1852 while living in Brunswick. Her husband, Calvin, taught at Bowdoin College and the couple only spent a few years in Maine. The book is the most famous abolitionist book of its day and has left a legacy of archetypes – Uncle Tom, Little Eva, Simon Legree – that demonized southern slaveholders and humanized the millions of people held captive by the nation's most egregious institution.

After the Civil War, Sara Sampson, a returned nurse, responded to the needs of the many orphans and began the Bath Military and Naval Orphan Asylum in 1864. In 1866, the facility was incorporated and became a state institution to serve orphans and "half orphans."

In World War II, the direct involvement of women increased. For instance, Martha Phillips of Southwest Harbor ferried bombers, freeing male pilots for combat. Ruth and Virginia Morin of East Millinocket joined SPARS, the special Coast Guard reserves unit for women that the U.S. Congress created in 1942. Their stories, like dozens of others, are archived in the Maine Folklife Center at the University of Maine.

Many women served in the Women's Army Corps, which had a presence at Dow Field in Bangor and at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth. In addition, WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services), a branch of the Naval Reserves, were stationed at Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Edna Dickey worked as a "farmerette" with the Women's Land Army, a federally sponsored civilian organization that recruited American women for agricultural labor beginning in 1943; similar organizations had been used in Britain in World War I and were quickly mobilized throughout Allied nations for the Second World War.

Ethel Linscott and Jackie McCarthy worked in war industries at the Saco-Lowell Foundry and South Portland Shipyard respectively. Nearly everyone donated dimes, dollars, and time to the myriad civilian activities of war.

Women's direct involvement in the military has increased since World War II and, with the most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many women are on the front lines.

Objecting to War

Not all Mainers have gone to battle enthusiastically. Shirkers come with the territory when war is at hand and, despite records of bravery and high levels of enlistments, Maine had its share of the less enthused. The existence of a place in Canada called Skedaddler's Ridge, just across the eastern border from Weston, testifies to the reluctance of some Maine men to engage the enemy.

Francis Pratt of Wilton apparently avoided military service during the Civil War by going to Canada. His brother seemed to anticipate doing the same if necessary and, in addition, sought to protect his funds in an economy not involved in a war of uncertain outcome.

In March 1865, Albert Pratt of Wilton wrote to Francis in Canada, "I havent hear from you for along time … we dont know whether you are dead or alive." Later in the letter, Francis' status in Canada became clearer. Albert wrote, "About my money I want you to get it and keep it for me be shure and get all the intrest for I may Come there if I am Drafted there is no draft here this time but they have drafted in some of the other towns."

His sister, S.A. Handy added to the letter, "I hopes that we shall meat again for I think it looks more like peace that it has for a long time I hope that you can come home this summir."

Many wars have been unpopular and, especially in the colonial past, inspired divided loyalties, ambivalence, or the simple desire to hunker down. Ambivalence and divided loyalties continue. Weekly peace vigils can be seen on town commons and other central locations in the 21st century.

People have actively protested against wars, spoken out for peace, placed bumper stickers on their vehicles and signs in their yards, refused to serve, been conscientious objectors, and taken other actions to make their views known, whether supporting government interventions in war or opposing them.