George F. Shepley of Portland had achieved renown as a lawyer and as U.S. Attorney for Maine when, at age 42 he formed the 12th Maine Infantry and went off to war. Shepley became military governor of Louisiana early in 1862 and remained in the military for the duration of the war.
Although not everyone in town supported the war effort, more than 200 Pittsfield men served in Civil War regiments. Several reminders of their service remain in the town.
Like many towns, Bethel responded to the Civil War by sending many soldiers and those at the homefront sent aid and supported families. The town grew during the war, but suffered after its end.
… chartered the first Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in Decatur, Illinois, in 1866. Within a year, 39 posts had been chartered, and interest spread…