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Federal Regiment

5th Maine Infantry


Commanding Officer at Antietam:
  Col. Nathaniel J. Jackson


This Regiment's Chain of Command:
  Army - Army of the Potomac
  Corps - Sixth (VI) Army Corps
  Division - 1st Division, VI Corps
  Brigade - 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, VI Corps

Unit history

"The 5th Maine left Portland for Washington D.C. on June 25, passing through New York City where the regiment was presented with its regimental flag. The regiment was initially brigaded with the 3rd and 4th Maine and the 2nd Vermont under the command of Colonel Oliver O. Howard as part of the Third Brigade, Third Division of the Army of Northeastern Virginia. On July 21, the regiment was ordered on the "double quick" to Manassas, Virginia, a disastrous march for the men of the 5th Maine, many of whom collapsed from exhaustion, sun stroke, and dehydration while on the march. The remaining members of the 5th Maine arrived at Manassas to find a confusion of retreating Union soldiers, citizens, and others. Colonel Mark H. Dunnell noted in his report to Colonel Howard that the "best, stoutest, and bravest men failed, and fell by the roadside" among them Captain Edwards. The 5th Maine lost over four hundred men, killed, wounded, or missing."

"In August 1861, the 5th Maine was attached to Heintzelman's brigade. On September 9, Colonel Nathaniel J. Jackson was given command of the regiment, which led to a near mutiny in the regiment. Several officers resigned and General Henry W. Slocum had to act swiftly to prevent further mutinous acts by the members of the 5th Maine."
(from Edwards)

Jackson's g-g-grandson F. Suarino, from research in Whitman1, "provides some context surrounding Jacksons appointment, if not an actual explanation as to the men's initial mutinous acts":

The Fifth was in poor shape prior to Col. Jackson's takeover. The unit "suffered from sickness, want of tents, cooking utensils and change of clothing. Col. Dunnell, who at the time of his election was US Consul at Vera Cruz and obtained temporary leave of absence to enable him to take command of the regiment, resigned on the 21st of August and forthwith repaired to his post in Mexico. The vacancy occasioned by his resignation was filled by the appointment of Col. Nathaniel J. Jackson, late of the First Maine, whose term of service had expired"1.

On Dec 7, 1861 Brig. General H.W. Slocum replied to an inquiry (apparently regarding the problems with the Fifth Maine) which was made by then Governor of Maine, I. Washburn, Jr.:

I have the honor of acknowledging the receipt of your letter of November twenty-ninth and in reply would say that I shall not ask the government to give me a better regiment than the Fifth Maine, in case it can be filled to the maximum standard. I do not think there is a regiment in the entire army which has improved so rapidly as Col. Jacksons has. The change has been wonderful. Their sick list is less than one third of what it was two months since. The men are cleanly, well drilled and ambitious. They are becoming proud of their regiment and are uniting cordially with Col. Jackson in all his efforts. I shall be greatly disappointed if this regiment does not do credit to your state. Fill it to the maximum and then pay us a visit and judge for yourself whether I am too sanguine ...1
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.

"... Edwards was promoted to lieutenant colonel prior to the battle of Fredericksburg, Maryland (December 13, 1862), and promoted to full colonel in January 1863 after Colonel Edward A. Scammon (who had succeeded Jackson as commander of the 5th Maine) resigned."

Battlefield Tablets for this Unit

Tablet #120: Army of the Potomac - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 12 PM
Tablet #102: Sixth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 4 PM
Tablet #71: Slocum's Division, Sixth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 19 Sep, 9 AM

References & Notes

Sources: Clark S. Edwards Papers, 1861-1903, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas; and Whitman's Maine in the War for the Union1.

We have 4 individuals in the AotW database for this unit:


Co. Rank Name Casualty? Details*
BPvtRoberts, Milton SWIA   09/17     We have some details for this person
CPvtAdams, Eben Died   00/00     We have some details for this person
CPvtWebb, Charles W.Died   10/30     We have some details for this person
F&SColJackson, Nathaniel James        We have a picture for this person We have some details for this person


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1   Whitman, William E.S., and Charles H. True, Maine in the War for the Union: a history of the part borne by Maine troops in the suppression of the American rebellion, Lewiston: Nelson Dingley Jr & Co., 1865, pp. 114-115  [AotW citation 14230]