Unit History – 2nd Maine Infantry

8 03 2022

Col., Charles D. Jameson; Lieut.-Col., Charles W. Roberts; Maj., George Varney. Numerically the second, this was in fact the first regiment to leave the state for the front. It was raised within the limits of the first militia division of the state and was rendezvoused at Bangor. Companies A, B, C, D and I belonged to Col. Jameson’s old command, and were reorganized for service in this regiment. The others were new companies. It completed its organization and left the state May 14, 1861. Like the 1st, it originally enlisted for three months, but on May 28, was mustered into the United States service for two years. The 2nd, during its two years’ term of service, saw much hard service and participated in eleven bloody and hard-fought battles, besides numerous skirmishes and scouting expeditions. It never received a word of censure and invariably distinguished itself. A list of the important battles in which it was engaged includes the first and second Bull Run, Hall’s Hill, Yorktown, Hanover Court House, Gaines’ Mill, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. The magnificent fighting record of the 2nd was largely due to the efficiency of its officers. It showed the stuff it was made of in its first battle at Bull Run. Col. Keyes, who commanded the brigade which included the 2nd Me., says in his official report of the battle: “The gallantry with which the 2nd regiment of Maine volunteers charged up the hill upon the enemy’s artillery and infantry, was never in my opinion surpassed.” Col. Jameson, the first volunteer and the first colonel in the field from Maine, was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers for gallantry displayed in this, his first battle. Lieut.-Col. Roberts succeeded to the command of the regiment, and after his resignation and honorable discharge, Jan. 10, 1863, Lieut. – Col. Varney was promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment and Maj. Sargent was commissioned lieutenant-colonel, the majorship being left vacant on account of the reduced condition of the regiment. On July 18, 1862, Capt. Chaplin, who had succeeded Varney in that command, was discharged to enable him to accept the command of the 18th Me., then being raised, and Capt. Sargent of Co. G was promoted to fill the vacancy. Some of the men became discontented three months after leaving the state from seeing three months’ men from other states returning home. Sixty-six claimed their time had expired, became insubordinate, and were sentenced to Tortugas; but this sentence was later commuted to a transfer to the 2nd N. Y., where they served about a year and then returned and served faithfully with the regiment for the remainder of the term. Co. I became greatly reduced in numbers in Oct.,1861, and the officers having resigned, it was disbanded. Capt. Daniel White of Bangor raised a new company which took its place in December of that year. On July 28, 1862, the effective strength of the 2nd became reduced to 257 rifles and came out of the battle of Second Bull Run with but 137 men able to carry arms. This is most convincing evidence of the trying service to which they were subjected. The regiment was mustered out June 4, and 9, 1863. In all 1,228 men were mustered in, of whom 275 returned and were mustered out; 120 were mustered in for three years and transferred to the 20th Me.

From The Union Army, Vol. 1, pp. 39-40


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