March 2023 Maine at War blog posts

In March 2023 my Maine at War blog celebrated Women’s History Month by sharing the adventures of Abba Goddard, the nurse who was matron of Clayton General Hospital in Harpers Ferry when Stonewall Jackson’s troops came calling during the Antietam Campaign. Goddard decided that the seven free blacks whom she employed would not be recaptured, and she acerbically commented on the incompetence of Union officers and the ill=clad Southerners who occupied Harpers Ferry.

A Christian chaplain accompanies Confederate infantry re-enactors marching along the dusty road during the Antietam 150th re-enactment held in Sharpsburg, Md. on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. Exactly 150 years earlier, Stonewall Jackson’s veterans had marched into Harpers Ferry after its garrison surrendered. (Brian F. Swartz Photo)

March 1, 2023: Nurse Abba Goddard withstands Jackson bombardment at Harpers Ferry, part 1

Practically middle-aged, Abba Goddard left her home in Portland, Maine to volunteer as a Union nurse. Named matron of Clayton General Hospital in summer 1862, Goddard endured several near misses after Confederate artillery started shelling the town on September 14.

March 8, 2023: Nurse Abba Goddard steps in harm’s way to save ex-slaves at Harpers Ferry, part 2

After Col. Dixon S. Miles surrendered his Harpers Ferry garrison to Stonewall Jack in mid-September 1862, Confederate troops scoured the town to capture black civilians of all ages. Hospital matron Abba Goddard decided the Johnnies would not enslave the seven blacks working for her, even if she must die protecting them.

March 15, 2023: Nurse Abba Goddard meets hard-bitten Confederates at Harpers Ferry, part 3

Stunned by the physical appearances of the Confederate infantrymen occupying Harpers Ferry in mid-September 1862, hospital matron Abba Goddard compared them with the Union soldiers with whom she was well acquainted. She left a hilarious description of Southern infantrymen!

March 22, 2023: Nurse Abba Goddard hears mention of the 10th Maine, part 4

Briefly attached to the 10th Maine Infantry Regiment in late 1861, nurse Abba Goddard held a special place for that regiment in her heart. After surviving the Confederate occupation of Harpers Ferry in mid-September 1862, she was ecstatic to hear that the 10th Maine boys were among the Yankee troops advancing on the town after Robert E. Lee withdrew from Sharpsburg.

March 29, 2023: The 1863 draft nabs a Lincoln-hating newspaper editor

William H. Simpson was the publisher and editor of the Republican Journal, a pro-Democratic newspaper appearing weekly in Belfast, Maine. He excoriated Abraham Lincoln and his administration in print. Then that administration established the draft in summer 1863. Simpson witnessed the first drawing of draftees’ names … and it was as if Lincoln himself tapped the editor on the shoulder.

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