Artist’s Conception of Maine Monument
Gone But Not Forgotten
In the late summer and fall of 1864, the American Civil War was entering its final phases. To those that were fighting the war the outcome was still anything but certain. Even with the Union victory at Gettysburg more than a year before, there were still several critical theaters of war left to be resolved, and there was a great deal of sacrifice yet to be exacted. With the outcome of a presidential election also in doubt, a successful resolution of all these combat arenas were critical to the resolution of the war. One of the most important of these combat theaters was the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the so-called Breadbasket of the Confederacy.
Between September 1, and October 19, 1864, some forty thousand Union soldiers under General Phillip Sheridan and twenty thousand troops under Confederate General Jubal Early were destined to fight in several major battles in the Shenandoah Valley. During this campaign some two thousand Maine men would wrestle there. Of this number more than 600 men, or some thirty per cent, would end up either killed, wounded, or missing. Many of the fatalities would be buried at the national cemetery in Winchester. The casualties would originate from four Maine infantry regiments and two artillery units. Among these would be the 1st Maine Veteran Infantry, the 12th Maine, 14th Maine, and the 29th Maine Infantry Regiments, as well as the 1st and 5th Maine Artillery Batteries.
As you visit these many battlefields in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley one thing becomes painfully clear. There are no permanent monuments to the sacrifice of these brave Maine Heroes on any of these battlegrounds. Currently there is an opportunity to place a lasting memorial to these Maine soldiers on the largest of these battlefields. The contest of which I speak was the Third Battle of Winchester, which was fought on September 19, 1864. In this one battle alone more than 230 Maine men became casualties and nowhere is there an undying testament to their bravery and sacrifice.
Currently there is an effort, in conjunction with the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, to raise the funds needed to purchase and install a stone memorial to Maine’s contribution at the Third Battle of Winchester. Half of the money has already been raised but we still need to raise more funds. Please help keep the memory of these men alive by mailing a check to:
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation,
Attn. Maine Monument Fund,
PO Box 897, 9386 S. Congress St.,
New Market, Va. 22844.
Thanks very much for your consideration and thanks very much for helping to keep the memory of these brave men, and their units, upon the battlefields in which they fought, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. This will be the only monument to Maine Civil War soldiers, not dedicated exclusively to a single regiment, on any battlefield in the country.