In 1890 the citizens of Orono erected a monument honoring its citizens who served in the American Civil War. From 1861 to 1864, approximately 10 percent of the inhabitants of this small town of what was then 2,544 people went off to war in order to preserve the Union.
These 250 Orono men joined the 70,000 participants from the state of Maine who ontributed to this brutal struggle, also known as “The Great Rebellion”. Some 39 Orono men are listed as having died in the battlefield or from wounds or disease. An unknown number died in prison camps, where they were buried in mass graves while some died years later due to causes related to the war.
Orono men and boys served in 27 different Maine Civil War Units, including Infantry, Heavy Artillery, Militia, Sharpshooters, the 1st Cavalry, which had an Orono farrier, and the United States Navy. Some regiments had only one or two Orono participants while others, such as the 1st Heavy Artillery, had as many as 60. Five Oronodoctors served as field staff in different regiments and in some battles it may have been the lst Calvary’s Orono bugler who signaled the charge. Orono soldiers were part of Maine regiments that engaged in major battles such as Gettysburg, Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, Manassas and Vicksburg and some were sent as far as New Orleans.
In 2015 our nation will mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. The Orono Historical Society is researching Orono’s role in the war and plans to present a spring lecture with stories of its soldiers and citizens. Sources for this research are based on “The History of Penobscot County, Maine” published by Williams, Chase and Co., 1882 and “Old Orono Oddments” by Dr. Douglas Glanville, a collection of historical anecdotes published by The Penobscot Times in1992.
The focus now is to repair and restore Orono’s oldest monument, raised in memory of the town’s soldiers in the American Civil War. Contributions may be sent to the Orono Historical Society, PO Box 324, Orono, ME 04473.