In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Biddeford History & Heritage Project

Sharing the history of a proud city rising where the water falls

The Civil War & Biddeford

Confederate money, 1862
Confederate money, 1862

Item Contributed by
Biddeford Historical Society

"It is with feelings of patriotic pride that I refer to the record of our City during the past year in regard to the national calamity that is now upon us. Thus far we boast of deeds, not words, and while other localities may have more loudly proclaimed their devotion to our country's cause, none have in fact more promptly responded to the calls of the government upon their treasure or their patriotism. Since the commencement of the present civil war, we have furnished from our own population upwards of seven hundred men, not only meeting promptly every demand upon us, but also furnishing a surplus to other towns."

Lydia Swan McArthur, wife of Robert McArthur, 1861
Lydia Swan McArthur, wife of Robert McArthur, 1861

Item Contributed by
McArthur Public Library

"That same devotion to the cause of right let us still cherish, and let every act of ours whether official or private, be such as brings no sorrow with its remembrance. Loyalty to a good government is the highest form of patriotism, and amid the darkness and gloom which now surrounds our unhappy country let us faithfully labor and patiently wait the dawning of a brighter day, when peace shall reign through all our land, and the smiles of Heaven rest again upon a united people."

-Mayor John Q. Adams, in the 1863-64 City Report

These words were spoken by Mayor John Q. Adams after the Civil War had been raging for 4 long years. He urged the citizens of Biddeford to be proud of the sacrifices being made within the city, and to look forward to better days. This was no easy thing. From 1861-65 Biddeford faced economic and social hardships which would take years to overcome, in addition to an ever deepening city debt that administration after administration would work to extinguish.