Civil War Subject of Maine Maritime Symposium


America’s deadliest war, the American Civil War, and its impact on Maine’s maritime community will be the topic of discussion at the 41st Annual Albert Reed & Thelma Walker Maritime History Symposium at Maine Maritime Museum in Bath on April 6.

The symposium, titled “Maritime Maine and the Civil War,” will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Museum’s Long Reach Hall. In addition to the day’s lectures, registration fees ($70 nonmembers, $60 members, $35 students) include a continental breakfast, lunch, dessert, coffee and a concluding reception. Registration is available online at here.

The American Civil War, whose sesquicentennial is currently being commemorated, claimed the lives of more than an estimated 750,000 soldiers, as well as thousands of uncounted civilian casualties. The conflict may have lasted only 4 years, but the war’s ashes would smolder within the American psyche for more than a century, impacting many aspects of American life and politics.

More than 70,000 Mainers, almost 10% of its population, served in the Army or Navy, the highest rate within the Union states. Of those, more than 9,000 died. Although heavily involved in the cotton trade, nearly 100 Maine merchant ships were sunk or captured. Even this far from the battlefields, the War’s toll was very high.

Symposium speakers, consisting of historians, educators, journalists, military veterans, re-enactors and others, will present a wide-ranging discussion of the intersection of Maine coastal residents and the Civil War. Topics include: construction of famous naval vessels, such as USS Kearsarge at the naval shipyard in Kittery; Mainers directly involved in the war, such as Captain George Henry Preble; the experiences of Maine naval seamen; and Civil War maritime music.

In addition, the war’s effects on Maine’s large merchant fleet will be examined in talks about Confederate privateers, changes in the management of merchant vessels and how Maine shipbuilders reacted to the turmoil.

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