P.O. Box 6242 Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107 (207) 838-2180
Volume 29
Number 4
April 22 - May 5, 2016
Out of Cape Elizabeth Subscription Types
June 01, 2011

Home | This Issue's Headlines | History

Stepping into the Sesquicentennial

About 150 years ago, on the eve of the Civil War, the people of Cape Elizabeth were going about their daily business, unaware of the trials to come. Certainly there were signs of trouble brewing, but except for the recent election, it all must have seemed very far away. In coming months, a Cape Courier series by Ellen Van Fleet follows the development of the war through the eyes of people who lived in Cape Elizabeth in 1861. Cape Elizabeth author Paul J. Ledmanís book, ďA Maine Town Responds,Ē will be the main guide. Small entries in the Courier will capture the news and concerns as events unfolding outside of Cape Elizabeth thrust their way into the local consciousness.

June 1, 1861: William Knowlton and the 1st Maine have arrived in Washington, D.C. They are to be deployed in the defense of Washington D.C. [Portland Transcript] We have 17 Cape Elizabeth men in this regiment. [A Maine Town Responds]

The vote for secession in Virginia took place on the 23rd. The counties of Western Virginia threw a heavy majority for the Union. In the eastern part of the State secession was carried by intimidation. [Portland Transcript]

All postal service has been stopped in the seceded States, except the Western portion of Virginia, where the Union sentiment prevails. [Portland Transcript]

The Great Eastern sailed for England last week, taking out 194 passengers. [Portland Transcript]

The Great Eastern was an iron sailing steam ship designed in England. She was by far the largest ship ever built at the time of her 1858 launch, and had the capacity to carry 4,000 passengers around the world without refueling. She had a length of 692 feet with a gross tonnage of 18,915 After her ill-fated maiden voyage, during which she was damaged by an explosion , she plied for several years as a passenger liner between Britain and America. [Wikipedia.com]

England, by royal proclamation, enjoins strict neutrality on her subjects, and respects our blockade. [Portland Transcript]

Mr. Eben Skillings, of Cape Elizabeth, who was run over by the cars on Saturday night, the 18th, died at his residence on Friday. [Portland Transcript]

June 8, 1861 It is reported that a member of the 2nd Maine Regiment, acting as a picket guard at Washington, was shot on Saturday night by some unknown person. [Portland Transcript]

Slaves are flocking to Fortress Monroe by hundreds. Gen. Butler holds them all as contraband of war, and sets them to work. They say there will be an insurrection. [Portland Transcript]

The life of a private in the 2d Maine Regiment at Willetís Point, N.Y., was recently saved by a testament in his breast pocket, which stopped a ball from a pistol accidentally discharged by a comrade. [Portland Transcript]

There was a rumor on Tuesday that the rebels had evacuated Harperís Ferry, but it wants confirmation. [Portland Transcript]