In May 2023 my Maine at War blog reported on the state’s connection with Grierson’s Raid, went with the sharpshooters and 3rd Maine Infantry into Pitzer’s Woods at Gettysburg, and reported on a July 1863 excursion to a fort still under construction on the Maine coast.
Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson rode out of La Grange, Tennessee with a native Mainer commanding one of his cavalry regiments. That soldier would not be the only Maine connection with “Grierson’s Raid.”
Frank Godfrey, a native Mainer commanding Co. C, 1st Louisiana Cavalry Regiment (U.S.), was lounging early on May 2, 1863 when a young trooper arrived and claimed he rode with the 7th Illinois Cavalry and Col. Benjamin H. Grierson. The astounded Godfrey doubted the story as he ventured forth to meet the purported Union raiders.
While local newspapers printed every available detail about the battle at Gettysburg, dignitaries from Bath on the Kennebec River cruised downriver to tour a fort being built to protect their fair city.
When the 4th Maine Infantry’s colonel refused to accompany Union sharpshooters across the Emmitsburg Road at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, Maj. Gen. David B. Birney sent the 3rd Maine Infantry instead. His decision would result in the under-strength regiment engaging in a woodland duel with veterans from Alabama.
The U.S. sharpshooters and 3rd Maine Infantry lads probing Pitzer’s Woods on July 2, 1863 ran head on into the Alabama brigade commanded by Cadmus M. Wilcox. His men administered a shellacking that badly damaged the 3rd Maine.