Adin Ballou was a veteran of the American Civil War. He was born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts on December 29, 1835. He died April 7, 1885 at the age of fifty. His father was a farmer, Albert Ballou, born in Cumberland, Providence in 1811. Adin’s mother was Anjanette Peck, born in 1791, who also resided in Cumberland, Providence. Adin was one of three sons. He had two brothers, Albert and William. Neither of his brothers fought in the Civil War. Upon Adin’s arrival home from war in 1865, he married Harriet O’Wormwell, born in 1839 in Maine. There are no records of them having any children. He met Harriet after being drafted into the 10th Maine regiment. He enlisted as a soldier in West Mansfield.
Adin joined his regiment on October 4, 1861. Adin fought in numerous amounts of small battles, but six where of key importance in the Civil War. His regiment joined in the battles of Winchester, Cedar Mountain, Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Throughout the duration of the war, his regiment lost approximately 136 men. The regiment lost eight officers, seventy-four enlisted men, one officer mortally wounded, and fifty-three died of disease. Due to endless traveling and fighting, the men’s health was poor. Many times they were out numbered and without good medical help, resulting in countless deaths.
The 10th Maine regiment’s first major battle was in Winchester also known as the battle of Bowers Hill. This battle was under the command of Nathaniel P. Banks against Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign in 1862. The federal troops were outnumbered, only having 6,500, while Jackson was armed with 16,000 troops. The battle took place May 25, 1862. Jackson’s troops had already skirmished with Bank’s troops in Middletown and Newton the day before. Jackson was now heading on the Valley Pike towards Winchester. Banks was determined to have his troops defend the town. Greatly outnumbered Banks’ army was forced to flee, heading towards the Potomac River.
On August 9, 1862, the 10th Maine regiment embarked on the battle of Cedar Mountain, again under Banks’ command. This time Banks was reinforced with now, 8,030 troops. Again Jackson outnumbered him with 16,868 troops. Banks directed Major General John Pope to be placed in command of the newly constituted Army of Virginia on June 26, who were later joined by the 10th Maine regiment. Robert E. Lee responded to this by dispatching Jackson with 14,000 men to Gordonsville in July. Jackson was later reinforced by A.P. Hill’s division. In early August, Pope marched his forces south into Culpeper County with the intention of capturing the rail junction at Gordonsville. On August 9, Jackson and Banks’ battled at Cedar Mountain with the Federals gaining an early advantage. When a counterattack led by A.P. Hill surprised the Federals, the confederates won that very day.
After Pope’s men retreated, Jackson ordered an attack on a Federal column that was passing across his front on the Warrenton Turnpike on August 28 to finish off Pope’s men once and for all. The fighting at Brawner Farm lasted several hours, but ended in a deadlock. Pope became convinced that he had trapped Jackson, and sent the bulk of his army in against him. On August 29, Pope began a series of attacks on Jackson, positioned along an unfinished railroad grade. These attacks resulted in heavy casualties for both sides. Unaware that Jackson was accompanied by reinforcements the next day, Pope renewed his attacks. Now with 28,000 more men, Jackson devastated the union army. Pope’s men were driven back to Bull Run.
After Pope’s last two defeats he was no longer in charge of his troops. On September 16, Major General George B. McClellan confronted Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland in the battle of Antietam. September 17, McClellan had Major General Joseph Hooker mounted a deadly assault on Lee’s men. This became one of the bloodiest battles in American history. Relentless battling went back and forth across Miller’s cornfield and the Dunker Church. The union was able to penetrate the core of Lee’s troops. A.P. Hill’s division arrived from Harpers Ferry and crushed the union. Lee was outnumbered two to one, but with reinforcements from A.P. Harper’s division, Lee was able to bring the battle to a standstill. Neither side had won this battle. During the battle over 23,000 men had died.
On April 27, Hooker led his troops to Chancellorsville reaching it between April 30 and May 1. Lee ordered men, under General Jubal, to confront the awaiting federal troops. Jubal stopped Hooker’s men from advancing towards his destination of Fredericksburg, and the troops began to engage in war. The overwhelming force of the confederates sent Hooker’s men right back to Chancellorsville. Jackson’s troops joined the battle and ferociously attacked Hooker’s men. Federal troops rallied, resisted the advance, and counterattacked. Both sides were now disorganized and confused. While making a night reconnaissance, Jackson was mortally wounded by his own men and later died. On May 3, the Confederates attacked with both wings of the army and massed their artillery at Hazel Grove. This finally broke the Federal line at Chancellorsville. This became one of Lee’s greatest victories.
During the battle of Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee concentrated all his force against Major General, George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac. On July 1, Confederate forces surrounded the town west and north, driving federal forces back through the streets to Cemetery Hill. During the night, reinforcements arrived for both sides. On July 2, Lee attempted to enclose the union troops. Lee first struck the Union’s left flank at the Peach Orchard, Wheatfield, Devil’s Den, and the Round Tops. Then he attacked at Culp’s and East Cemetery Hills. The Federals were able to retain Little Round Top and had repelled most of Lee’s men. During the morning of July 3, the Confederate infantry were driven from their last hold on Culp’s Hill. By the afternoon, Lee attacked the Union center on Cemetery Ridge. What was called the “Pickett’s Charge”, momentarily piercing the Union line, but was driven back with severe casualties. There was an attempt to gain the Union’s rear, but the confederates were besieged. On July 4, Lee began withdrawing his army toward Williamsport on the Potomac River. Over fourteen miles of land was covered with Lee’s wounded men.
Adin Ballou was a witness and partaker in some of the largest; bloodiest battles in American History. It is astonishing that he was able to live through all these battles during his time served in the 10th Maine regiment. Researching men like Adin gives an inside look to specific occurrences that took place during the Civil War. The War is not just battles, but the stories of heroic men that risked their lives to save and preserve the union of the United States of America. The stories of the battles that Adin fought in bring the war to life, knowing the certain account of one man’s contribution to making the United States what it is today.