“Death of a Bangor Boy”—The Casualties of Harris Farm

The May 30, 1864, edition of the Bangor (ME) Whig & Courier included a notice titled “Death of a Bangor Boy”—a sixty-four-word obituary for Corporal Charles W. Smith of the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery, Company D, who “died of a wound in the left breast, received at the battle of May 19th.”

That same issue also noted that Captain Hersey, “wounded in the ankle in the late severe engagement participated in by that Regiment, has arrived in this city, and is at the Penobscot Exchange. His wound is doing well. We learn from him that his Company lost twelve killed and fifty two wounded….”

In the days that followed, the paper ran more brief obituaries of men from the 1st Maine Heavies—casualties of the engagement at Harris Farm.

On June 3: Company B’s Lieutenant Wilmont T. Vickery of Glenburn, who “was a brave and faithful officer and will be much missed by his company”; Company F’s Alvah M. Chick of Dixmont, who “was a young man of much promise, son of Thatcher Chick, Esq.”; and Company H’s Fernando C. Plummer, who “belonged in Harrington.”

On June 6: Company K’s Captain William R. Pattangall of Pembroke, who “was a man of fine personal appearance, extraordinary intellectual ability, and an estimable citizen. He was in the prime of his life and leaves a wife and several children.”

On June 10: Company F’s David B. Wiggin of Levant, who “died in hospital at Washington yesterday, from the effect of wounds received in the first battle of the regiment. Mr Wiggins was about 34 years of age, a very estimable young man, highly esteemed by all. He leaves a wife and two children.”

The Whig & Courier attempted to print at least a brief bio about each solider, although it sometimes resorted to a feature titled “Additional list of Maine soldiers who have died in hospital in Washington.” On such lists, soldiers received little more than a single line that included name, unit, and, if available, hometown.

But when the paper could, it ran longer pieces—for example, a June 4th tribute to Captain William T. Parker:

Captain Wm T Parker of the First Maine Heavy Artillery, who came to his death from wounds received in the late charge by that regiment, was formerly preceptor of the Boys’ High School in this city. Capt Parker was one of the noblest of those who have died for their country during the present war. He was a gentleman in its broadest and most enlarged sense—uniformly kind and courteous, he never unnecessarily wounded the feelings of his comrades, and was universally respected and beloved by the Regiment. We have delayed speaking of his death that we might have the evidence of his comrades that he was a brave and gallant officer—that evidence we now have before us. A member of that regiment writing to the Ellsworth American says ‘He was as brave and cool as he was courteous and kind. Ellsworth may well be proud of her Teacher, her Lawyer, her Soldier.’

The paper that day also quoted the Ellsworth American about another soldier:

Lieut. Geo. W. Grant of Company C…fell, mortally wounded in the engagement which this regiment and others had with Ewell’s corps. His body is expected here today. Lieut. Grant was a gallant officer, and the bravest of men…. When going into action he waved his sword and said, “boys, this is what we came out here for.”


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