Sunday, October 2, 2011

Civil War Sunday - Beer and The Little Woman

Welcome, Ultimate Blog Challengers, to my blog.

I published my post yesterday before I decided last-minute to sign up, so I did not post a welcome yesterday.

In this blog, I write about anything that I am inspired to write about, with two scheduled exceptions.  Every Wednesday, I have a Wildflower Wednesday where I post pictures of wildflowers.  I am someone trying to learn about wildflowers so we can learn together. (Here in upstate NY, the flower season will be ending soon. So that is going to be changing in the next month to - well maybe you can help me decide)

Every Sunday, I post something related to one of my interests, the United States Civil War of 1861-1865. (Some would argue we are still fighting it.)  Since we are now commemorating the 150th anniversary of the war, I should have a lot of material.

I do not intend to "recreate" the war as we come up on the 150th anniversary of each event.  I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Virginia in July for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of First Manassas, (First Bull Run) but I won't be able to visit too many anniversary events, or reenactments. 

To me, the real interest of the Civil War is the people, many of them everyday people who would never have been destined for fame if not for them being (so to speak) in the right place at the right time.

I like to explore the Civil War from some less-than-usual angles.  If you do this, you will be surprised to see where the Civil War pops up in daily life.  You don't even have to visit the South, or view a single battlefield.

You just have to visit a beer and wine store in downtown Portland, ME.  Or walk the streets of a college town about 30 miles away.

Last month, we decided to visit Mid-Coast Maine.  We stayed in a college town, Brunswick, and visited Portland (among other places).

I ended up bumping into the Civil War at every turn.

Maine has a thriving beer industry.  The above brand, Shipyard, is a Maine brand of beer.  One of their commemorative bottles honors a Maine native, Joshua Chamberlain.  
He's the man on the middle label, dressed in a Federal uniform.

This was his house in Brunswick.

 Who was Joshua Chamberlain?  Very simply put, he was a college professor who, when the Civil War started, felt he needed to fight for his principles.  He enlisted and saw action in several battles.  He was wounded very seriously, but survived.

His actions at the Battle of Gettysburg may well have directly lead to the Union victory at Gettysburg in July of 1863.  The Union victory stopped a Confederate invasion of the north.  After the war, he returned to Maine and served for four years as its Governor.  After that, he became president of the college he had once taught in, Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME.  (Longfellow also has a connection with Bowdoin College and this house, a story for another day.)

Meanwhile, there was a woman whose husband was teaching at Bowdoin College.  They moved into this house on the campus and the woman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, ended up writing a book that changed the course of history.  It was published in installments between 1851 and 1852. 

This white house is where the book Uncle Tom's Cabin was written.

Harriet Beecher Stowe and her husband attended a church which is still standing, not too far away.  The church is open to visitors (the house is not).

Harriet Beecher Stowe visited the White House on November 25, 1862.  There is a legend that Abraham Lincoln greeted her, saying "So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war."

Just one more Civil War connection - the Lee's Surrender blanket I bought elsewhere in Brunswick, a blanket that taught me a valuable lesson about research.

A man on a beer label and a" little woman".  You'll be surprised what can change history.


  1. I live right now in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War is everywhere here. We have been out to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie to learn a bit more. It is really interesting how "ordinary" people changed history. Great article!

  2. I'm doing the UBC, too. Needed some inspiration to keep blogging daily. The crazier my schedule gets, the harder time I have coming up with interesting post topics. Good luck. I'll be checking in, as always.

  3. My first comment disappeared (darn computer!), so I'm trying again... glad to have a familiar face doing UBC (I'm doing it again). I needed the inspiration to blog daily!

    The crazier my schedule gets, the more I struggle to come up with interesting and entertaining blog post ideas. I hope to be inspired during UBC.

    I'll be checking in on your during the challenge, as always.

  4. Hello, I am also doing the UBC and I love the Civil War too. One of my relatives ran contraband to the Southern army via boat and the pier behind the family home. My cousin Julia married Grant. I will be looking forward to more posts. BTW, sustainable gardening is a passion as well.

  5. These posts are amazing. We have a blog on the Carolina (travel, recipes, events and more). Naturally there is a very strong interest in the Civil War here. COULD YOU PLEASE consider posting you Sunday links on our facebook page? I believe alot of our readers would be interested!


  6. Sorry if this is a dupe comment but the first one seemed to "disapear"...

    Our site is focused on the Carolinas (recipes, travel, events and more). We would love you to post links to your Sunday Civil War history on our fb page, Carolina HeartStrings. I believe alot of our readers would find it interesting.



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