The Androscoggin Historical Society has published a 32-page booklet to commemorate the sacrifice of men and women from Androscoggin County who had roles in the Civil War.
The booklet, entitled “Faces of the Civil War,” was compiled by AHS board member Russ Burbank, a retired writer and editor who worked with other members of the board to find tales that portray the sacrifices of local men and women who were caught up in the conflict.
The booklet can be purchased at the Society office (County Building, 2 Turner St., Unit 8, Auburn, ME, 04210-5978) and other locations including the Auburn and Lewiston public libraries. The cost is $4 plus sales tax, or $5 by mail including tax and postage. The office, located on the third floor of the County Courthouse, is open Wednesday and Thursday from 1 to 4:30 p.m., and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. For information call 784-0586.
The Board of Directors approved the project as part of a statewide effort by Maine historical societies and museums to observe the 150th anniversary of the war.
Most of the stories and photos were found in files of the AHS, the Maine State Archives, and old newspapers. Internet sites such as the Library of Congress and the National Park Service also provided information.
One of the Maine military figures portrayed is Gen. O.O. Howard, a native of Leeds who led troops in several Civil War battles including the Battle of Seven Pines, where he lost his right arm when hit by a Confederate rifle ball. After the war Howard led the Freedmen’s Bureau, which provided food, work and education to former slaves. He went on to become the second-ranking general in the U.S. Army before retiring from a 44-year military career. Congress gave him the Congressional Medal of Honor, four different universities gave him an honorary degree, and the French government made him a Chevalier of Honor in 1884.
The booklet tells the stories of other local men including Dr. Alonzo Garcelon, of Lewiston, appointed Maine’s surgeon general when the war began and later elected governor of Maine; Edward W. Bartlett, of Lewiston, who fought in several battles and was confined in the infamous Andersonville prison; Horace Wright and his son Lyman, of Auburn, soldiers together in the 10th Maine Infantry Regiment; and Alonzo G. Frost, of Lisbon, who was one of 30,000 Union soldiers to die from typhoid.
A love letter written by Carrie Wentworth, of Turner, to her soldier husband Edwin, describes her loneliness and her struggle to survive in poverty with her daughter Annie.
Another story looks into the mystery of an unknown Confederate soldier buried in the Strout Cemetery in Durham.