- Saint John, New Brunswick
- Calais, Maine
- Eastport, Maine
- Belfast, Maine (to whose leaders a warning was sent from Eastport)
Saturday, September 25, 2021
Two Period Newspaper Articles about the Confederates Raids in Eastern Maine
Two period newspaper clippings about the raids in Eastern Maine, carried out or proposed, by Confederates massing in Saint John, New Brunswick, during the Civil War.
The clippings mention
The clippings are contained in a notebook, the original handwriting in which is covered over by many newspaper clippings that appear to have been pasted there by someone with Union and abolitionist sentiments.
Transcription of the clipping at top:
A LITTLE RAID IN MAINE - ATTEMPT TO ROB THE CALAIS BANK. Calais, Me., 18th
At midday today there was an attempt to rob the Calais Bank by a small party of rebel raiders, who came from St. John, N.B. Three of them were arrested. The leader of the gang is Capt. Collins of the 15th Mississippi regiment. They say some thirty associates promised to meet them here, but failed. The vigilance of the State Guard prevented the consummation of this bold scheme of pillage. The three men have been committed. The citizens are arming in expectation of an attack tonight.
The second clipping:
EXCITEMENT ON THE BORDER OF EASTERN MAINE
Rebel Raid Apprehended
The St. Croix Herald, published at Calais, Me., represents that a general excitement pervades the towns on the eastern boundary of Maine, growing out of an apprehended foray by rebel refugees in the British Provinces. The Herald of 23d says:
"The towns on this border have been alive with excitement during the past few days and nights owing to well authenticated reports that a raid was in contemplation by rebel agents and "roughs" who had their headquarters at St. John. We were reliably informed when in St. John a few days ago that the programme of rebel operations consisted not only in the taking of the Chesapeake but also the steamer New England, and then making a raid upon the towns on the border, robbing the banks and committing general destruction by fire, robbery, etc. The failure to take the New England rather strengthened the impression that the raid on the borders would be attempted, and accordingly on Thursday night the people here and at Eastport organized for home defense.
There was any number of citizens ready to volunteer, and the every effort was made to give the invaders a warm reception. A company of about seventy men was raised for the emergency, consisting of nine months' men and State Guards, under the command of Capt. Flint. Their rendezvous was at the Armory. Squads of the men were detailed for picket duty at the several bridges and other exposed stations leading from New Brunswick, through which channel the rebs intended to find their way into our city. At intervals during the night of Thursday, as reports came in to the headquarters from the various outposts, intense excitement was manifested, and strong hopes were entertained that is the invaders were really coming they would come then and there.
The night was stormy and the guards, notwithstanding they were unaccustomed to the service, entered into the work with much zeal and enthusiasm. Between three and four in the morning a fire broke out and destroyed an old building somewhere in the rear of the town of St. Stephen. It was thought by some that it was intended as a decoy, but it didn't take as the guards had orders not to leave the city. It was supposed that some suspicious persons, the advanced guard of the enemy's forces, were prowling about the city, and the Provost Marshal was directed to make a search at the Exchange where the suspected men were stopping, but there was nothing discovered that would implicate the parties. Toward morning the guards descried some men lurking about the post office, but no arrests were made.
Thus ended the first night of the watch for the invaders. Their non-appearance was regretted, as many of our boys were 'splilin' [presumably 'spoilin'] for a right, and unless the raiders had come in overpowering numbers, but few of them would have lived to tall the tale of the adventure. Men have since been detailed nightly for the service, and the tread of armed men through our streets at the midnight hour has recently become one of the features of life on the border. At Eastport, the citizens are also wide awake, and a large force patrol the streets and guard the town nightly. There can be no doubt, from information received on the subject from various sources, that such a rain as we have been preparing for has been and is in actual contemplation. It will not do to slumber as we are yet by no means secure from danger."
The Provost Marshal of Belfast has received a letter from Eastport, which says:
"Last night almost every man and boy in Eastport went armed, and a guard of sixty men was kept in Frontier Bank all night. It seems a large party of roughs left St. John for some place, and a remark made by them was overheard before they left, that they were going to rob a bank in the United States, within sixty miles of St. John."
The citizens of Eastport telegraphed to Augusta for seventy-five rifles or muskets."
At this time, the Army still maintained Fort Sullivan in Eastport on Moose Island, although it was much reduced in readiness.
If you have information to share, please leave a comment.