Unit History – 5th Maine Infantry

17 07 2022

Cols., Mark H. Dunnell, Nathaniel J. Jackson, Edward A. Scammon, Clark S. Edwards; Lieut.-Cols., Edwin Illsley, William S. Heath, Edward A. Scammon, Clark S. Edwards, Capt. Millett of Co. A; Majs., Samuel C. Hamilton, Edward A. Scammon, Clark S. Edwards, Capt. Millett, A. S. Daggett. This regiment was recruited from the third militia division of the state. It was mustered into the service of the United States on June 24, 1861, and numbered 1,046 men. It was made up entirely of new companies and was raised at a time when a spirit of intense patriotism prevailed throughout the state, so that little exertion was required to fill its ranks. It left Maine for Washington on June 26, fully equipped and armed with Springfield muskets and bayonets. On its way through New York city it was the recipient of a beautiful flag, presented by the loyal sons of Maine there resident. It remained in camp at Meridian Hill, Washington, until July 5, when it commenced its march to the battle – field of Bull Run. During its three years of severe service, it was engaged in eleven pitched battles and eight skirmishes, prior to its participation in the terrible campaign of the Wilderness under Grant. Its list of battles includes First Bull Run, West Point, Gaines’ Mill, Charles City Cross-Roads, Crampton’s Gap, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Salem Heights, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor. In the battle of Gaines’ Mill the 5th lost 10 killed, 69 wounded and 16 missing, its gallant Col. Jackson was carried wounded from the field and Lieut.-Col. Heath was among the killed. At Rappahannock Station, the regiment was conspicuous for its gallantry, and captured 4 standards of the enemy. The flags were presented to Gen. Meade, who said: “In the name of the army and the country I thank you for the services you have rendered, particularly for the example you have set and which I doubt not on future occasions will be followed and emulated.” In a gallant charge on the enemy’s works at Spottsylvania Court House, more than half of the regiment was lost in crossing an open field subject to a raking fire of canister, but it captured the works, and took 2 flags and a large number of prisoners. In addition to the 6 captured flags, the 5th had the record of taking more men prisoners than it carried on its own rolls. It left the front near Petersburg, June 22, 1864, and started for home, arriving in Portland on the 28th with 216 men, who were mustered out of service, July 27, 1864, the veterans and recruits having been transferred to the 7th Me. During its term of service it had received some 500 recruits.

From The Union Army, Vol. 1, p. 42