A Civil War Era Academy

“Orford Academy opened its doors in 1851. Tuition was $3 per term and some families paid with goods instead of cash,” notes Rivendell Trail History. “All students were expected to exhibit good moral behavior and attend church. Orford Academy, as a private school, closed its doors in 1871.The building remained empty until 1898. There were 14 students pursuing a high school degree in 1898 when the town took over the operations. After some difficult times, Orford High School opened up in 1926 as a teacher-training site for Plymouth and Keene State colleges. It began with just a sophomore and freshman class and added a class each year. It must have been an interesting experience for students as a new group of teachers arrived at the midyear mark. The only sense of consistency was provided by Ms. Gladys Twitchell, who served as the headmistress from 1926-1945. In 1949 the connection to Plymouth Teachers’ College ended, and the town debated whether to continue running Orford Academy as a town school or tuition students elsewhere. In 1950, the town voted to keep the high school and hired its first set of teachers.”

The Connecticut River Joint Commissions describes the old town section of Orford, N.H.: “The Historic District was the site of Orford’s first schoolhouse (1770), and two later schoolhouses (1785 & 1829, the latter being the only one of the three remaining, and now converted to a dwelling). Orford’s first Academy building (built 1796, burned about 1850) stood on the West Common. Unsuccessful as an Academy, it became a grade school where students as young as seven or eight wrestled with problems of Colburn’s Mental Arithmetic. A second Academy building (1851) is now the Orford High School. In 1898 the building was sold to the town and fitted out for a grammar school. It became the Orford High School in 1926. It stands on the southern end of the Ridge in the Historic District.”

This carte de visite was taken by A.F. Clough of Warren and Orford, N.H., and is new to my collection. It is available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr.
A Civil War Era Academy


Lieutenant Rogers Recovers Captured Guns at Gettysburg

rogers-groupThe exploits of Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and his Twentieth Maine Infantry at Gettysburg are well known among those with an active interest in the Civil War. Far less known however is the story of another Maine unit, the Sixth Battery, First Light Artillery, and its role in stopping the Confederate juggernaut in the vicinity of the Peach Orchard about the same time Chamberlain and his troops were fighting nearby on Little Round Top.

The story of Lt. William H. Rogers and the rest of his battery at Gettysburg is the subject of my latest “Faces of War” column in the Civil War News.

An excerpt:

The fighting in the vicinity of the Peach Orchard during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg was a Union artilleryman’s nightmare. Advancing Confederates had torn into the poorly positioned Union Third Corps and ripped it to shreds. The destruction of the federal line at this critical point uncovered a wide a dangerous gap in their front. Onrushing rebels plunged into the void and drove shattered ranks of federal infantry back, leaving artillery batteries unsupported and exposed.

Read the full story.

New to My Collection: A Union Officer Wounded Four Times During the War

Francis Welch Crowninshield, known as “Crownie” to his friends, left Harvard during his sophomore year in 1861 and enlisted as a second lieutenant in the Second Massachusetts Infantry. Over the next four years, the regiment participated in some of the biggest battles of the war. Crowninshield suffered three wounds in action, including Winchester (May 25, 1862), Antietam (September 17, 1862), and Gettysburg (July 3, 1863). His fourth wound of the war occurred in Georgia at Raccoon Creek (June 6, 1864), when a guerilla shot him in the leg as he prepared to bathe in the stream. He barely survived his injuries, dying in 1866.

Crowninshield wears the shoulder straps of a first lieutenant and sits with a cane in this photograph taken in late 1862, when he was at home in Massachusetts recovering from a severe leg wound received during the Battle of Antietam.

His carte de visite portrait has been added to my Flickr Photostream:
Wounded Four Times in the Civil War