Maine's 1st Regiment at Gettysburg

civil war soliers reunion
Photos: CrazyasaCoolFox
With the 150th anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg here is a related post, originally published on our blog April 17, 2010.

This photo shows Isaac Shields in his American Civil War regalia presumably with his fellow comrades for a reunion. In previous posts I have written about his daughter, Elzena Rachel, and his grand-daughter, Villa. Mae (muskrat coat) Isaac is second from the left holding the battle flag.

I did a little research on Isaac and it turns out he was in the 1st Regiment, Maine Cavalry. His unit saw action in that famous battle at Gettysburg where 51,000 soldiers lost their lives. He was also present at Appomattox Court House the site of the final battle and the signing of the Confederate Army of Virginia's surrender.

This photo must be a reunion commemoration as the men are formally dressed and adorned with their well earned medals. There were two notable reunions of both Union and Confederate forces at Gettysburg for the 50th and 75th anniversary of the battle. There were 1800 veterans that attended the 75th anniversary. Still I'm not sure if this photo is from either of those two reunions. I'm inclined to think this reunion was held in Maine as the trees in the background look much more "Maine like," than I think one would see in Pennsylvania.

It would be amazing to think that this photo was taken on the battlefield. Perhaps it is right on Little Round Top where the 20th Maine provided the force needed to turn this pivotal battle in American history. If they hadn't been there General Lee would have been able to separate Washington from the rest of the nation as he was headed in that direction.

The 1st Maine Cavalry was also witness to the act of surrender at Appomattox Court House. I like to imagine their regiment were among the Union soldiers who respectfully saluted the Confederate General Lee as he rode away from the signing ceremony on his trusted steed "Traveller."

father and son at gettysburg monumentDuring the summer of 1963, the 100th anniversary of the battle, my parents took me on a trip to Pennsylvania. This photo pictures me with my father next to one of the 900 monuments at Gettysburg. I am still trying to find out which monument this is. As an 8 year old I was only interested in cannons, guns, and pictures of "dead guys" on the battlefield. Little did I know of the significance of the battle, little did I know the pain of war, and little did I know that I had a great great grandfather that fought for freedom not far from were I stood.

Update: I have always been curious as to what monument it is where my dad and I standing. Well I found it and it is documented in this post called "Battlefield Boys." The monument itself has a fascinating story, check it out!


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