Civil War 150
New Hampshire

Exeter Historical Society, Exeter NH

The Exeter Historical Society collection includes an exhibit on Exeter's experience in the Civil War, focusing on two Union officers with Exeter connections: Brig Gen Gilman Marston and Capt. George Julian, created in conjunction with the Society by Exeter Eagle Scout Craig McPherson.

Brig Gen Gilman Marston

Gilman Marston graduated from

Dartmouth College (1837), and from Harvard law department (1840). He was admitted to the Rockingham County (NH) Bar in 1841, at Exeter.

Marston served in the New Hampshire legislature (1845-49, 1872-73,1876-1888). He was a delegate to two state constitutional conventions (1850, 1876). In 1859 Marston was elected (as a member of the new Republican Party) to the U.S. House of Representatives (served 1859-63,1865-67). His congressional service was interrupted by the Civil War, however. Appointed colonel of the 2nd New Hampshire Volunteers (mustered June 4, 1861), Marston had his arm shattered at First Battle of Bull Run a few weeks later. Marston refused amputation of his arm, and he recovered to lead the 2nd NH Volunteers at the battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oak, Malvern Hill, and Fredericksburg (all VA). After the December 1862 battle at Fredericksburg military operations were suspended for the winter season, and Marston returned to his congressional duties in Washington, D.C.

In June 1863 Marston accepted appointment as Brigadier General of U.S. Volunteers (an appointment first offered in October 1862), and a month later he led the 2nd NH Volunteers at the Battle of Gettysburg (PA), July 1-3, 1863. After Gettysburg, where more than sixty percent of the 2nd NH Volunteers were killed, wounded or missing, Marston took his remaining troops, plus surviving regiments of the 12th NH Volunteers, and the new group was assigned to establish and guard a new camp for war prisoners at Point Lookout (MD). This duty began July 26, 1863, three weeks after the Battle of Gettysburg; it concluded April 18, 1864, when Marston, with an additional command of a brigade of 18th New York troops, helped assault Drury’s Bluff (VA). Marston’s force moved on to the ferociously fought Battle of Cold Harbor (VA), where in half an hour Marston lost five hundred troops. The survivors then moved on to join the siege of Petersburg (VA), and then to the James River, where Marston became ill. He quit the army on sick leave, and was reelected to Congress by New Hampshire voters in March 1865. Marston resigned his military commission after the burning and evacuation of Richmond (VA), April 3, 1865.

Compiled by Russell Bastedo, NH State Curator

Capt. George Julian

George Naylor Julian was born in Exeter, N. H. on March 17, 1841, the son of Luke and Abigail Moses Julian. The elder Julian was a carriage maker and wool merchant.

George N. Julian attended public schools before entering Phillips Exeter Academy, from which he graduated in 1856.In April 1861, following the bombardment of Fort Sumter, Julian moved to Massachusetts and enlisted as a private in the Second Battery (Nims) of Massachusetts Light Artillery. At the time, he determined to let those with more ambition become officers and consequently he served as a driver of a six-horse team on a field piece.

The Second Battery first went to Baltimore, where it helped quell unrest by Maryland secessionists. The unit then moved to Camp Hamilton,Virginia, where Julian witnessed the historic battle between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (Merrimac). Shortly thereafter, the battery was transferred via New Orleans to take part in the Siege of Vicksburg. On July 28, 1862, Julian received a commission as Captain of a newly-formed company of the 13th Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers. The 13th trained in New Hampshire and first saw action at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Julian also saw action at the battles of Providence Church Road, Proctor’s and Kingsland Creeks, Drury’s Bluff, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Fair Oaks. On January 31, 1865 Julian received an honorable discharge and returned to Exeter. There he entered his father’s business as a wool trader and between 1875 and 1892 operated out of San Francisco.

Source: The University of New Hampshire library owns a collection of Capt. Julian's letters from the front.

Lincoln Sesquicentennial 2010 -- Lincoln Visits New Hampshire 1860

In 2010, the Exeter Historical Society presented an extensive celebration of the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's visit to Exeter in 1860. In 2011 the Society presents a special Civil War Sesquicentennial program in October on the subject of the slave trade and New England.

On March 3, 1860, Abraham Lincoln, having just given an electrifying anti-slavery speech at Cooper Union in New York City, arrived in Exeter, New Hampshire to visit his son Robert, a student at Phillips Exeter Academy.  After speaking to ever-larger, quickly assembled crowds of New Hampshire citizens in Manchester, Concord, Dover, and Exeter, Lincoln went on to accept his party’s nomination for President in May of that year, and then to the White House. On March 6, 2010, Exeter commemorated that visit with several events, leading up to “Lincoln’s Return” to the Exeter Town Hall where he spoke in 1860. Welcomed by the 12th NH Volunteer Regimental Serenade Band, Lincoln presented Steve Wood gave a talk featuring remembrances of his trip to Exeter, as well as segments of the speech he gave on that same stage.

There was also a significant educational component to this project.  In addition to the events, the Society worked closely with Exeter’s school district (SAU16) to bring

Lincoln into the schools, and to create opportunities for hands-on learning for students.  These opportunities include inviting Lincoln Presenter Steve Wood to visit all of the SAU16 schools during the month of February. The visits were sponsored by the NH Humanities Council, along with many other special events. Eighth grade students at the Cooperative Middle School created  a Lincoln geocaching adventure, and four Exeter High School students  built an Online Resource Center on the Exeter Historical Society website, gathering as much information about Lincoln’s visit to New Hampshire as possible onto the one Internet location.  The main public events celebrating the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s visit to Exeter started on the exact anniversary, March 3, 2010, when Richard Schubart of Phillips Exeter Academy gave an illustrated talk, “Abraham Lincoln: From Springfield, Illinois to Exeter, New Hampshire and Beyond” that traced the crucial political years of transition from 1858 to 1861 when Lincoln became a national candidate for office. On Thursday, March 4th, eminent Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer spoke at Phillips Exeter Academy on Lincoln ’s 1860 trip eastward, and its effect on his campaign for the presidency. 

As part of the Lincoln 150th commemoration, the Exeter Historical Society created five geocaching sites. These include a "Civil War in Exeter" geocache

Exeter Historical Society

47 Front Street
Exeter, NH



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