Bio of General Harris Merrill Plaisted
A Collection of Biographical Sketches.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher

GENERAL PLAISTED was born in Jefferson, N. H.. November 2, 1828, the son of Deacon William and Nancy (Merrill) Plaisted. His parents possessed little of this world's goods, but they left to their children a rich inheritance in their exemplary lives of industry unremitting and of piety most pure and sincere. He was one of a family of six Sons and three daughters, two of whom, besides himself, made their homes in Maine --Hon. William Plaisted, extensive tanner, Senator from Penobscot, and E. Freeman Plaisted, M.D., Farmington, graduate of Jefferson College, Philadelphia, and Surgeon of the Twenty-eighth Maine Regiment.

The General comes of good legal as well as fighting stock-Judge Samuel Plaisted, his grandfather; Colonel John Plaisted, twenty years Associate and Chief Justice of New Hampshire, and Captain Roger Plaisted, slain in King Philip's war together with two of his sons while defending the "Upper Garrison" in Kittery.

General Plaisted is the seventh in descent from this brave old Indian fighter. Until the age of seventeen he was at home working on the farm and attending district school; the next three years, attending academies spring and fall, teaching winters. Entered Waterville College in 1849, graduating in 1853. During his college course he taught the village school; was Principal of the Waterville Liberal Institute and Superintendent of Schools, elected by the town for three years. He graduated at the Law School, Albany, in 1855, with the highest honors, winning the first prize, a gold medal; studied one year with Hon. A. W. Paine, Bangor, where, in 1856, he began his law practice. For three years he was a member of Governor Lot M. Morrill's Staff- 1858-59-60.

In August, 1861, he enlisted for the war in the Eleventh Maine; was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel, October 30, 1861; Colonel, May 12, 1862; commanded his regiment in the Peninsular Campaign of 1862, taking part in the siege of Yorktown, battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks and "Seven Days' Battles"; commanded his brigade in the siege of Charleston in 1863, and in the great campaign of 1864-5, against Richmond and Peters.. burg, in which his, "The Iron Brigade," had men killed and wounded on fifty-nine different days, losing 1,385 out of 2,698. While in the service his command never moved to the front without him: was twice promoted by the President for "gallant and meritorious conduct in the field "; was warmly commended by all his commanders General Terry, his Corps Commander, hero of Fort Fisher, wrote, recommending his promotion:

"Colonel Plaisted is a brave, patriotic and loyal man, and has faithfully served the country since early in the war. His regiment is not only one of the best in the Tenth Army Corps, hut one of the best which I have ever seen. He is more than ordinarily attentive and zealous in the performance of his duty and equally careful for the comfort and welfare of his men. In the battle of the 7th instant (New Market Road), he handled his brigade with marked skill awl ability and it was as much due to his efforts as to the efforts of any one that our flank was not turned and the battle not lost."

Major-General Foster, Division Commander, wrote:

"The discipline of his brigade is of the highest order, and its fighting qualities unsurpassed by any in the army. Colonel Plasted having commanded it since its organization at Morris Island, is, in my judgment. entitlel to the greater share of the credit for the remarkable efficiency which it has attained. Colonel Plaisted is an officer of unbounded zeal and energy. loyalty and patriotism."

The following resolution, among others, adopted May 25, 1865, by one of his regiments, was forwarded to him after his return to Maine, signed by the Colonel, Adjutant, and Chaplain:

"That General H. M. Plaisted, our late Brigade Commander during long and arduous campaigns, may have formal assurance of what, from long association with us, he must fully understand are the true and hearty sentiments of the officers of the 'tenth Connecticut, - Resolved. That the unvaryilig and remarkable successes of his command are the best evidences of General Plaisted's faithfulness and ability as a soldier, and that no higher tribute of praise can be paid to his skill and bravery than that he was a worthy commander of the 'Iron Brigade.' That until the memory of the events in which we bore a part with him and under him have passed from our minds, we shall ever cherish pleasing recollections of General Plaisted as an able commander, a gallant soldier, and an estimable Christian gentleman."

He returned to the practice of the law at Bangor, May, 1865. In 1866 he delivered the oration at the laying of the corner-stone of Memorial Hall, Colby University, receiving many compliments. Senator Hoar, speaking of the oration to Senator Frye, said: "If it were bound up with Webster's speeches, it would not be deemed out of place." He was twice member of the Legislature from Bangor- 1867, 1868; delegate at large to National Convention in 1868. Was three times elected Attorney-General, 1873-74-75, makipg a distinguished record. His argument in the Wagner trial was characterized by the Rosfon Advertiser as "a model for such speeches" and "a piece of masterly rhetoric." Was elected to the Forty-fourth Congress; not a candidate for re-election; unanimously nominated for Governor in 1880: elected by a vote of 73,770 to 73,544, for two years; Democratic candidate for the U. S. Senate in 1883 and 1889. Since July, 1883, editor of The .Vew Age at Augusta.

General Plaisted married, September 21, 1858, Sarah J., daughter of Chase P. Mason, Esq., of Waterville. They had three sons. Harold M., a graduate of the Maine State College, in 1881, Stevens' Institute of Technology, 1882, and now a patent solicitor in St. Louis; Frederick W., a graduate of St. Johnsbury Academy. and since 1885 one of the editors and proprietors of The New Age, and Ralph P., a member bf the Senior class of Bowdoin College. Mrs. Plaisted died October 25, 1875, and the General married, September 27, 1881, Mabel True, daughter of Hon. Francis W. Hill, of Exeter. They have one child, Gertrude Hill Plaisted.

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