Sunday, March 12, 2006

The First Maine Heavy Artillery in California

I am still trying to pin down where soldiers from the First Maine Heavy Artillery who died while on garrisoning duty in Washington are buried. I know from one reader (Tim Abbott) that at least one solider who died of disease was mostly likely embalmed and shipped home with his brother. I am am sure there were others but they are most likely the exception not the norm. Peleg Bradford of the First Maine Heavy Artillery indicates in his letter that the soldiers who died while on garrison duty in and around Fort Sumner (the one in Washington) were buried in Tenalleytown. Some have suggested that this may have been a temporary burial ground with the soldiers being eventually removed to Arlington or the Soldier’s Asylum. The listing I have of Maine soldiers buried in Arlington does not indicate any the names I am looking for. My thoughts are that the 100+ soldiers who died in the regiments from August 1862 to May of 1864 are more than likely buried at the Soldier’s Asylum. I have been unable to find a list yet to confirm that so if any one has one please let me know.

So while this part of my research still goes on I did receive some interesting and useful information from a reader of the Maine Civil War Forum who gave me a link to the Sons of Union Veterans Graves Registration Database. I had not seen this site before so I was exited to try it out. My query captured over 107 grave sites listed for soldiers from the First Maine Heavy Artillery throughout the country. Out of these 107 sites 19 of them are listed in California and there are another 12 or so listed for Colorado, Washington State and Oregon. To me this points out that as a result of war was a sense restlessness was awakened in many of the survivors that could not be contained within their bounderies of their home states. After experiencing the trauma of war first hand many veterans were inspired to put behind them the lives they had left in 1861 and set out for a life more full of risk, adventure and reward on the frontier.

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