The early strife that would come to divide a nation slowly boiled in the decades leading up to the American Civil War. In 1838, one event became the final tipping point for many Mainers, after which the United States began careening towards a new revolution.
Congressional Rep. Jonathan Cilley, challenged to a duel by a Southern member of the House, was killed at the infamous Bladensburg Dueling Grounds. His death became an electrifying rallying cry for abolitionists. No one would be more furious than his son, Jonathan Prince Cilley, who vowed during the Civil War to make someone, or maybe everyone in the South, pay for his father's death.
As war erupted, the Union states sent its men to fight against their Confederate counterparts--once their brothers in patriotic unity, now their sworn enemies in a conflict that would test a nation barely eight decades old.
Here begins the story of the more than 75,000 Maine men who fought for the preservation of the Union. Long before Joshua Chamberlain would make history at Gettysburg, Mainers headed south to defend their country--or pay the ultimate price in trying.
In this, the first of three volumes of Maine's deep involvement in the American Civil War, noted author, historian, journalist, and storyteller Brian F. Swartz brings us more than just a history book. Beyond merely repeating facts from other books, in this opening volume Swartz delivers an electrifying account of Maine at war--from Cilley's fateful duel at Bladensburg in 1838 to the explosive battle between the Rebels under Lee and the Yankees under McClellan at Sharpsburg, Maryland, in late 1862.
Swartz brings together eyewitness accounts from soldiers and nurses who were there--stories garnered from handwritten letters, articles and letters printed in newspapers of the day, and other firsthand tales. From historical societies to state archives to libraries and beyond, and from decades of walking the actual battlefields while conducting his research, Swartz has spared no expense of time or detail to bring this powerful story to life.
Along with hundreds of photographs and illustrations from the period, and enhanced with some of his own modern-day photography of Civil War battlefields, Brian Swartz has begun the astounding story of how Maine mattered during the war--from the day Jonathan Cilley died to the final end of the war.
Here begins that incredible story in the first part of Brian Swartz's masterwork, Maine at War Volume I: From Bladensburg to Sharpsburg.