James E. Metcalf, Private, 6th Maine Light Artillery
James Metcalf was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia August 8, 1842, the son of Amos Metcalf and Margaret Eagles. His father was a lumberman and his mother is reported to be a Micmac Indian. When the Canadian lumber companies bought up plantations in northern Maine, Amos followed with his family and settled in the little town of Talmadge, Maine, close to the New Brunswick border. James became a lumberman in his early teenage years.
Freeman McGilvery returned to Maine to raise a battery of artillery in 1861, and James and his father Amos travelled to Augusta and enlisted on December 16, 1861. James was 18. They first saw action at Cedar Mountain in 1862. James was with the 6th for three and ½ years, reenlisting at Brandywine Station on January 1, 1864. In addition to Cedar Mountain the 6th saw action at the following battles: 1862
Groveton, Bull Run, Antietam
Dumfries, Gettysburg (The battery was commanded by Lt Edwin Dow.), Culpeper, Mine Run
The Wilderness, “Bloody Angle”, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor,
Siege of Petersburg
-Jerusalem Plank Road
Assault on and capture of Petersburg
After mustering out in Augusta on June 7, 1865 with an Honorable Discharge, James returned to Talmadge where he lived for the remainder of his life. He would marry Anna Roix and father five children. He probably continued as a lumberman while he could, and became a farmer at some point, but he would have been hampered throughout his life by the Malaria he contracted during the war.
After the death of his wife in a farming accident, the household fell apart. The 1900 census has the children living with relatives and James living with the family of a younger brother. He died on July 9, 1905. Under “Cause of Death” on his death certificate it reads, “Malarial Poisoning effecting Brain contracted outside the state during the civil war.” He never filed for a disability pension.
Copyright 2011 - 2015 6th Maine
Updated January 11, 2015