Maine gave to the struggle for independence six thousand men. And when it was over, one thousand of her sons had sacrificed their lives and the burden of debt that fell upon her was greater in proportion to her wealth and population that her share in the cost of the Civil War.
The news of the battle of Lexington reached York on the evening of the same day. The next morning a company of sixty men, fully equipped with arms, ammunition and food, were marching to Boston. The first company was followed in a few days by men from the entire province, even as far east as Machias. Falmouth, now Portland, was bombarded and utterly destroyed by a British fleet, October 18, 1775, and the territory from the Kennebec to the eastern boundary was frequently invaded and suffered numerous attacks at different points.
A Maine regiment was present at the battle of Bunker Hill. On June 12, 1775, the patriots of Machias fought "the Lexington of the seas," in which the Margaretta was captured and "the British flag was struck for the first time on the ocean to Americians." Eleven hundred men from Maine were with Washington at Valley Forge, a tenth of the entire force. At the siege of Boston practically every able-bodied man in western Maine was present. An old letter in the Massachusetts archives states that during the siege, when an urgent call was made for additional volunteers, they got the reply from Falmouth, "Every man who can leave home is gone or going to Cambridge. They must draw upon this part of the province for women instead of men, and for knives and forks instead of arms." Maine men were at Quebec with Arnold, also at Ticonderoga, Long Island, Stillwater, Saratoga, and the surrender of Borgoyne, at Monmouth and at Yorktown. The daring fishermen of our coast served in the Continental Navy and were with John Paul Jones. It is pleasant to remember that when Washington rode down the lines one day to thank the troops whose valor had turned the tide of a desperate battle, and exclaimed with uncovered head "God bless the Massachusetts line!" he spoke to the Third Division -- men from the counties of York and Cumberland.
MEGenWeb Project War of the Revolution resources:
Source(s) for narrative on this page: The Maine Book, by Henry E. Dunnack, Librarian of Maine State Library. Augusta, Maine 1920. pages 3-8.
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