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1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment

1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment

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The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment was a regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 in the Union Army
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. It suffered more casualties in an ill-fated charge during the Siege of Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

 than any Union regiment lost in a single day of combat throughout the war. It was also the Union regiment with the highest number of officers killed (23).

The regiment was mustered in Bangor, Maine
Bangor, Maine
Bangor is a city in and the county seat of Penobscot County, Maine, United States, and the major commercial and cultural center for eastern and northern Maine...

, in 1862 as the 18th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment and consisted mostly of men and officers from the Penobscot River
Penobscot River
The Penobscot River is a river in the U.S. state of Maine. Including the river's West Branch and South Branch increases the Penobscot's length to , making it the second longest river system in Maine and the longest entirely in the state. Its drainage basin contains .It arises from four branches...

 Valley (the area around Bangor and points east). It was commanded by Col. Daniel Chaplin
Daniel Chaplin
Col. Daniel Chaplin was a Union officer in the American Civil War who died in battle and was posthumously made a Major General. Under Chaplin's command, the ill-fated charge of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment against Confederate breastworks during Siege of Petersburg resulted on the...

, a Bangor merchant. Charles Hamlin, son of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin
Hannibal Hamlin
Hannibal Hamlin was the 15th Vice President of the United States , serving under President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War...

, was originally an officer in this regiment, but was promoted to a position on the staff of Maj. Gen.
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 Hiram G. Berry before it saw significant action.

The regiment's name was changed in 1863 to the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment, and it served in the defenses of Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 before being reassigned to the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 during the Overland Campaign
Overland Campaign
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the...

 in the spring of 1864. At the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, sometimes simply referred to as the Battle of Spotsylvania , was the second major battle in Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Following the bloody but inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness, Grant's army disengaged...

, the regiment took its first heavy casualties—6 officers and 76 men killed, and another 6 officers and 388 men wounded. At Petersburg, however, an ill-advised charge across an open field toward Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 breastworks on June 18, 1864, ordered by Chaplin, resulted in the greatest single loss of life in a Union regiment to occur in the war, with 7 officers and 108 men killed, and another 25 officers and 464 men wounded. These casualties constituted 67% of the strength of the 900-man force. Chaplin survived the action but was later killed by a sharpshooter.

All in all, the 1st Maine sustained one of the highest casualty rates in the war, with 421 killed, and another 260 dead of disease.

A monument to the 1st Maine stands on the former battlefield at Petersburg.

See also

  • List of Maine Civil War units
  • Maine in the American Civil War
    Maine in the American Civil War
    During the American Civil War, the state of Maine was a source of military manpower, supplies, ships, arms, and political support for the Union Army...

External links