|Photo – Doug Peabody|
This photo shows Isaac Shields, my great-great grandfather, in his Civil War regalia presumably with his fellow comrades for a reunion. Isaac is second from the left holding the battle flag.
I did a little research on Isaac and it turns out he was in the 1st Regiment, Maine Cavalry. His unit saw action in the battle at Gettysburg where 51,000 soldiers lost their lives. He was also present at Appomattox Court House the site of the final battle and the signing of the surrender documents.
This photo must be a reunion as the men are formally dressed and adorned with their well earned medals. There were two notable reunions of both Union and Confederate forces at Gettysburg for the 50th and 75th anniversary of the battle. There were 1800 veterans that attended the 75th anniversary.
Still I’m not sure if this photo is from either of those two reunions. Those trees in the background look much more “Maine like,” than I think one would see in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
But still it’s amazing to think that perhaps the photo was shot right on Little Round Top where the 20th Maine provided the force needed to turn this pivotal battle in American history. If the Maine regiments weren’t there General Lee would have been able to separate Washington DC from the rest of the nation as he was headed in that direction.
The 1st Maine Cavalry was also witness to the act of surrender at Appomattox Court House. I like to imagine their regiment were among the Union soldiers who respectfully saluted the Confederate General Lee as he rode away from the signing ceremony on his trusted steed “Traveller.”