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1st Maine Heavy Artillery, 1862-1865


“Here lie men who have not hesitated to seal and stamp their convictions with their blood…”

Anonymous writer for the New York Times, upon seeing the dead of Antietam

1ST Regiment

Maine Heavy Artillery

United States Volunteers








Of The

“Maine Heavies”

The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment was organized and Mustered into service as the 18th Maine Infantry, at Bangor on August 18, 1862 with Colonel Daniel Chaplin in command. The regiment left Maine on August 24 and reported to Washington, D.C. where it was assigned to the city’s defenses. The regiment remained assigned to the Defenses of Washington until February, 1863.

On January 6, 1863 the regiment was redesignated as the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery and assigned to the 2nd Brigade, Haskins Division, 22nd Army Corps. Its duties were to build and garrison the forts protecting the capital city.

In the Spring of 1864 the Army of the Potomac was in desperate need of manpower. The new commander of Union forces, General Ulysses S. Grant, had been particularly aggressive in his Overland Campaign against Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The Army of the Potomac, having been severely handled by Lee's forces, had suffered horrendous casualties.

At Grant’s request the heavy artillery units, who had up to this time seen only light duty guarding the city, were ordered to join the Army of the Potomac to bolster the diminished numbers of troops in the army’s infantry divisions. Armed as infantry the “Heavies” left Washington and took to the field.

The 1st Maine reached Belle Plain, Virginia on May 15, 1864 and was assigned to Tyler’s Heavy Artillery Division.

When the Heavy Artillery units first joined the Army of the Potomac the veterans ridiculed them as shirkers and called them " Bandbox Soldiers". This would soon change. Beginning on May 18, 1864, on the Fredericksburg Road, the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery would be involved in some of the heaviest and costliest fighting of the war. At the Battle of Harris' Farm on the 19th of May the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery faced the 2nd Corps of Lee's much vaunted Army of Northern Virginia. These Rebels , now veterans of three years of hard campaigning, were the disciples of the legendary "Stonewall" Jackson who had died of wounds received at Chancellorsville the year before. Now led by Lt. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, the 2nd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia was an experienced and formidable foe even though it had been badly mauled a week earlier, in what the troops called "The Mule Shoe". In this fight the 1st Maine lost 155 Killed, 325 Wounded, and 2 Captured. This was a portent of things to come. No longer would the "Heavies" be the objects of ridicule by their veteran comrades.

On June 18, 1864 the 1st Maine took part in the assault on Petersburg. This action resulted in horrendous casualties for the unit. Out of 900 engaged 685 became casualties. This was the highest loss of any one regiment in any one action of the war.

The 1st Maine continued to serve gallantly until the close of hostilities in April, 1865. The regiment has the distinction of sustaining the greatest loss in battle of any unit during the war, Federal or Confederate. This in only one year of field service.

The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery was mustered out of service on September 11, 1865 and ordered to Bangor, Maine where it was discharged on September 20, 1865.

Recapitulation Of Troops Serving In The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery

Aggregate; Total Number of Troops Serving----2,202

Killed In Action or Mortally Wounded-----23 Officers and 418 Enlisted Men

Total Deaths Due To Enemy Action------441

Wounded and Recovered----923

Captured, POW----64

Total Number of Casualties Due To Enemy Action---1428

Died of Disease-------260

Total Casualties---1688

****Percentage of Casualties in The 1st Maine Heavy Artillery---- total--77%

battle casualties percentage----65%****

****The percentage of battle casualties was incurred in only one year of combat



Defenses of Washington….( August, 1862-February, 1863 )

2nd Brigade, Haskins’ Division, 22nd Army Corps, Dept. of Washington….(February, 1863-May, 1864 )

2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac…( May, 1864 )

1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac…( May, 1864-July, 1864 )

2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac…( July, 1864-June, 1865 )

3rd Brigade, Hardin’s Division, 22nd Army Corps, Dept. of Washington…( June-September, 1865)

Engagements & Service

Grant's Overland Campaign...( May-June, 1864 )

Fredericksburg Road, Virginia......(May 18, 1864)

Harris’ Farm(Spotsylvania), Virginia…( May 19, 1864 ) 155 Killed, 325 Wounded, 2 Captured

Milford Station, Virginia…( May 21, 1864 ) 1 Killed, 1 Captured

North Anna, Virginia…( May23-26, 1864 ) 2 Killed, 6 Wounded

Pamunkey River, Virginia…( May 26-28, 1864 )

Totopotomoy Creek, Virginia…( May 28-31, 1864 ) 3 Killed, 10 wounded, 3 Captured

Cold Harbor, Virginia…( June 1-5, 1864 ) 1 Killed, 27 Wounded, 7 Captured

Siege of Petersburg, Virginia...( June, 1864-April, 1865 )

Individual Engagements During The Siege

Petersburg ( June 18, 1864 ) 242 Killed, 372 Wounded, 1 Captured

Weldon Railroad ( June 22-23, 1864 ) 4 Killed, 15 Wounded, 21 Captured

Deep Bottom ( July 27-28, 1864 ) 2 Killed, 8 Wounded

The Crater ( July 30, 1864 ) 1 Wounded

Strawberry Plains ( August 14-18, 1864 )

The Chimneys ( September 9, 1864 ) 6 Wounded

Poplar Springs (September 30, 1864 )

Yellow House ( October 1, 1864 )

Squirrel Level Road ( October 2, 1864 ) 4 Killed, 3 Wounded, 1 Captured

Boydton Plank Road ( October 27-28, 1864 ) 10 Killed, 25 Wounded, 12 Captured

Fort Sedgwick ( November 5, 1864 )

Weldon R.R.(Stoney Creek Station) ( December 1, 1864 )

Warren's Hicksford Raid( Weldon R.R. ) ( December 7-14, 1864 ) 2 Captured

Hatcher’s Run ( February 5-7, 1865 ) 8 Killed, 26 Wounded

Armstrong House ( March 25, 1865 ) 5 Killed, 15 Wounded, 7 Captured

Appomattox Campaign...(March 29- April 9, 1865 )

Southside Railroad ( March 29, 1865 ) 1 Killed, 3 wounded

Boydton Road and White Oak Ridge ( March 29-31, 1865 )

Final Assault, Petersburg ( April 2, 1865 )

Jetersville, Virginia…( April 5, 1865 )

Deatonsville, Virginia…( April 6, 1865 )

Sayler’s Creek, Virginia…( April 6, 1865 ) 3 Killed, 35 Wounded

Farmville, Virginia…( April 7, 1865 ) 2 Wounded

Appomattox Court House, Virginia… ( April 9, 1865 )