Maine Gets Civil War Stories Collection

The Maine Archives announced last week the launch of Maine’s Civil War Stories. This site will contain narratives and stories about the Civil War with a slant to Maine citizens and locations. This site is by no means finished — it’s expected that by the time the project is finished it’ll contain over 400 stories — but there are over 150 stories available. Start your browsing at http://maine.gov/sos/arc/sesquicent/civilwarwk.shtml.

This isn’t complicated. It’s a list of stories. It features date, person, subject, and town. Subjects include “Review of Personal Liberty Laws,” “Butler Declares Martial Law in Baltimore,” “Samuel Grant Forbids His Son From Leaving for War,” and “Medical Exams with Dr. Rust.” The dates are hyperlinked (with an * to denote included pictures or documents from the Maine Archives, and † denoting stories that have materials from other sources.) Click a date and you’ll get a story. (“Silas Sprague did not want to be anyone’s fool. A farmer in Troy, Sprague enlisted in May of 1861 in neighboring Unity in a Company that became part of the 8th Maine Infantry Regiment….”)

The Sprague story contains about 300 words concerning his suspicions about officer pay, but also an image of the letter he wrote to Governor Washburn and a transcript of the same letter. Other stories contain portraits and written reports.

Each story concludes with one or more questions suitable for including the story in a Civil War teaching unit. (“When would Sprague expect to be paid for his work as a farmer?”) Some of the stories are a bit short, but the ones with the primary documents included are excellent. And the Web site is only half-finished. Well worth a browse, especially if you’re looking for teaching material.

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