ECW is pleased to welcome back Brian Swartz, author of the new Emerging Civil War Series book Passing Through the Fire: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in the Civil War. Brian adapted this post for us from a series of posts published on his blog Maine at War on March 20, March 27, and April 3, 2014.
James J. Chase was 17 and a newly minted second lieutenant when he posed for this portrait, probably at a studio in Maine. He rejoined the 32nd Maine Infantry Regiment at Petersburg in July 1864 and charged with men into The Crater on July 30. (Maine State Archives)
The massive explosion that created The Crater and stunned James J. Chase followed him home to Maine.
Hailing from Turner in Androscoggin County, the 16-year-old Chase joined the army in August 1863. Showing talent and leadership capabilities, he received a commission and a transfer to the 32nd Maine Infantry Regiment in late winter 1864 as second lieutenant, Co. D.
He arrived at Petersburg in July and reported to the 32nd’s commander, Col. Mark Wentworth. Guided by a soldier named Peare, Chase navigated the trenches, ran across an open ravine as Confederate bullets whizzed past, and “at about three P.M. we reached the regiment.” Continue reading