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Military Involvement

This slideshow contains 5 items
1
Civil War bullet, Bethel, ca. 1860

Civil War bullet, Bethel, ca. 1860

Item 100542 info
Bethel Historical Society

By Maddie Simard

When the Civil War broke out, there was one military unit in Oxford County: the Norway Light Infantry.

As a result, when Maine troops were first mobilized, Bethel sent out eight "fine, athletic, noble looking fellows" to the Norway unit.

Not long after the first call, President Lincoln issued a second appeal for 300,000 men for three years.

Forty men from Bethel enlisted this time, joining the 5th Maine Volunteer Infantry as Company I.


2
Clark S. Edwards, Bethel, ca. 1890

Clark S. Edwards, Bethel, ca. 1890

Item 100630 info
Bethel Historical Society

A number of Bethel men led companies or received high ranks in the Civil War.

Capt. Clark S. Edwards led Co. I of the 5th Maine.

Edwards was promoted to brigadier general in 1864 after his dedicated service at the Battle of Gettysburg.

He was the Democratic candidate for Maine governor in 1886.

Capt. W. Robinson O'Neil Jr. of Bethel commanded the 4th Battery Mounted Artillery. He died during the war.

Capt. Adelbert B. Twitchell of Bethel headed the 7th Battery Mounted Artillery when it was formed in 1863.

Gideon A. Hastings was promoted to major in the 12th Maine Regiment, where he served from October 1861 to April 1866.


3
William B. Lapham of Bethel, ca. 1863

William B. Lapham of Bethel, ca. 1863

Item 100562 info
Bethel Historical Society

William B. Lapham enlisted on September 18, 1862 as a commissary sergeant in the 23rd Maine and was later commissioned as a first lieutenant in the 7th Maine Light Artillery Battery.

He was promoted to captain in March 1865 and mustered out in October 1865.

A historian, he later wrote, "Every call for troops was promptly met, and Bethel soldiers took part in all the battles of the army of the Potomac and in the department of the Gulf."


4
Farnum Llewellyn Bean, Bethel, ca. 1860

Farnum Llewellyn Bean, Bethel, ca. 1860

Item 100869 info
Bethel Historical Society

Farnum L. Bean, a private in Co. B of the 23rd Maine, died at age 18 in a hospital in Maryland, one of many soldiers who died of disease during the war.

One soldier was famous for his unusual story. John Cooper was reported as killed and buried after the battle of Cedar Creek.

In reality, Cooper survived the skirmish, returned back to Bethel in 1864, and was able to read his own obituary.

Out of Bethel's population of 2,523, 180 men became soldiers.


5
Civil War era folding camp chair, 1861

Civil War era folding camp chair, 1861

Item 100543 info
Bethel Historical Society

Bethel made every effort to encourage more people to enlist to meet the town's quotas for soldiers.

In 1863, the town voted to raise $2,000 for families of volunteers, and $50 was paid to each drafted man and conscript.

Money was raised every year at town meetings while the war dragged on.

Bounties for soldiers were high enough that some people attempted to enlist to collect the cash, and then fled to avoid serving.


This slideshow contains 5 items