Captain Whitehall, Mrs. 1st Sgt, and I spent spring break researching Company D in the great state of Maine. We saw and learned so much and only a portion of what we saw is here in the slideshow. Many once in a lifetime experiences like holding Edgar Crockett’s buttons, an original target rifle, and numerous artifacts belonging to the 20th Maine that belong in a private collection and we want to honor their privacy. Most of what we did and saw will be posted on an ongoing basis, like the hundreds of pages of original Company D paperwork.
We started our trip in Portland where we visited Captain Fessenden’s grave and stood in the place where his recruiting office once stood. Leaving Portland, we stopped in Brunswick to visit Bowdoin College, Chamberlin’s house, and grave. We then visited the Maine maritime museum in Bath to learn about the vast maritime culture that would have been so familiar to those in our company. After Bath, we a day and a half in Augusta researching in the Maine State Archives. We also met the legendary Company D historian, Captain Sulin who guided us through our experience and helped us get our researcher credentials. After spending the next morning back at the archives, we visited the state history museum to learn more about Maine culture, history, and commerce. We also got to see the 20th Maine’s Gettysburg battle flag. Leaving Augusta, we carpooled with Captain Sulin through the Maine woods down to Cherryfield to visit the graves of the Tucker twins. The Captain is an amazing tour guide and pointed out places like the building where James Matthews worked as a newspaper man, forts, and so many wonderful stories.
We spent the rest of the time in Rockland which was the home to many of the company. We researched original newspapers, spent time in the Rockland historical society, visited the graves of more fellow Sharpshooters, and was invited to an amazing lobster dinner with Captain Sulin and his wonderful wife. We can't thank the Captain enough for sharing his time, his knowledge, and hospitality.
The trip was overwhelming in all the right ways. We learned so much, touched so much of history, and learned we definitely need to return to further our research! Reading books and diaries is important for a better experience in our hobby, but visiting your unit’s home towns, and holding the very items they held is inspiring. There is so much more to be learned by doing on site research and being moved by paying respects at the graves of soldiers we portray.