Carol Manchester

     In 1996 Maine State Music Theatre premiered Chamberlain: A Civil War Romance, book by Sarah Knapp, lyrics by Steven Alpern. Our son played in the pit and his wife performed on stage.  In preparation for their roles, there was much discussion in our household about Joshua L. Chamberlain, and that was the beginning of our dedicated interest in the Civil War.

     Fast forward to the early 2000s.  As family members were cleaning out the eaves of the Manchester farmhouse, a box of Civil War letters, saved from soldier Joseph K. Manchester, came to light.  Several letters had been located over the years, but not this trove.  One evening when Dave and I dug amongst them, we realized that Joseph and the 9th Maine had been at Battery Wagner, Morris Island. Having seen the movie Glory, we were hooked on Joseph’s story.  He was wounded on the July 18, 1863, assault when the 9th Maine followed the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (U.S.C.T.) and he died on August 3rd in Beaufort SC.  I wrote a book based on his letters, gave presentations in 2012-13, and learned about Civil War roundtables.  The rest is history.

     One additional tangent: Dave’s dad had an interest in the Civil War, particularly the 20th Maine, and sometimes talked among his friends about the regiment. I do not believe he knew that Eben, older brother to Joseph served in the 20th Maine as a wagoner, but Dave’s dad would have relished that connection.

Camp of the 9th Maine Infantry Regiment on Morris Island, South Carolina. G.T. Lape, Photographer. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, reproduction number LC-DIG-ppmsca-69257.

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