(1840 - 1920)
Home State: Maine
Command Billet: Soldier
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 5th Maine Infantry
He enlisted in Company B, 5th Maine, at Biddeford, on 24 June 1861 for three years.
On the Campaign
He was wounded and lost his left foot on the Maryland Campaign. It is most likely that it was in combat at Crampton's Gap on 14 September.
The rest of the War
He was hospitalized for some time recovering from his wound, mostly in Washington, DC. It was during this time, in early 1863, that he described his experiences at White Oak Swamp (30 June 1862) to volunteer nurse Walt Whitman. Whitman later wrote the poem A March in the Ranks Hard-Prest, and a Road Unknown based on notes of that conversation.
After the War
In 1867 Roberts built a house on 10 acres he bought in the town of Falls Church, Virginia, near Washington, DC, apparently because it was also home to his doctor. He had the parts for the house, and some of the carpenters, sent from his brother's lumber business in Berwick, Maine. He was employed at the US Pension Office in Washington DC for 40 years, and was known locally as "Captain" Roberts, because of his military bearing.
References & notes
Sources: Falls Church Archives at the Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA; including letter of Mrs M E Roberts of 3/26/1971;
The Soldiers and Sailors System (database online), US Park Service; and
The Walt Whitman Collection, US Library of Congress.
Notes: Roberts' house (409 West Street) later went to his nephew Milton E. Roberts, and stayed in the family til 1965. It is still in private use, and in excellent condition (as of 2003).
More on the Web
1840 in NH
1920; burial in Oakwood Cemetery, Falls Church, VA