Bio of Gen Mark Fernald Wentworth
As found in REPRESENTATIVE MEN OF MAINE
A Collection of Biographical Sketches.
Prepaired under the direction of Henry Chase
Portland, ME.
The Lakeside Press, Publisher
1893

THE subject of this sketch was born in the town of Kittery, York County, March 14, 1820. He comes of "good fighting stock, " his great-grandfather having served as Captain in the old French War, and also, with the same rank," in the War of the Revolution; the grandfather and also two great-uncles being among the patriots of the Revolution. General Wentworth attended the schools of his native town about four months in the year until twelve years of age, when his father died. He then worked on the farm half the year, and the remainder of the year attended the high school and academies, until seventeen. He then taught school winters for four or five years, tilling the farm ' ' in its season " meanwhile.

At the age of twenty-one he commenced the study of medicine in the office of Doctor Trafton of South Berwick, and attended medical lectures at Dartmouth Medical College in 1842-4. In 1843 he was appointed Chief Clerk to the Naval Store-keeper at Kittery Navy Yard, serving as such until 1849. He was then chosen Clerk for York County to the State Valuation Commission at Augusta. This service completed, young Wentworth went to Philadelphia and attended medical lectures at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was graduated. Doctor Wentworth practiced medicine at South Boston. After two years' professional service there, he returned to his native town of Kittery, where he has ever since enjoyed an extensive, remunerative, and successful practice.

When the first signals of coming national strife were heard, the patriotic ardor of the young physician impelled him early to prepare for the very creditable military service to which he was later called. He organized in 1854 and commanded a company of militia known as the Kittery Artillery, a position he held until 1862. Meanwhile in 1857 he was honored with appointment as Chief of Staff to Gov. Hannibal Hamlin with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

A devoted and enthusiastic Republican from the organization of his party, Colonel Wentworth in 1860 was chosen delegate from the First Maine District to the Republican National Convention, and enjoyed the proud privilege, with his associates, of casting the vote of Maine for Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin as candidates for the positions of President and Vice-President of the United States.

Upon "the first challenge to the fray" in the War of the Rebellion, the firing upon Sumter. April, 1861 Colonel Wentworth, with the Kittery Artillery, was ordered to Fort McClary, at the mouth of the Piscataqua on the Maine side. Here Colonel Wentworth served three months. In June, 1861, he was made Naval Store-keeper at Kittery Navy Yard.

At the call of President Lincoln for troops to serve for the nine months' period, Colonel Wentworth was elected Lieutenant-Colonel of the Twenty-seventh Maine Regiment, by vote of the line officers, and was afterwards promoted to the full Colonelcy. Upon the expiration of the nine months' term, at a most critical exigency in the history of the war, and at the earnest request of President Lincoln and the Secretary of War, Colonel Wentworth and about two-thirds of his command volunteered to remain for the defense of Washington until the rebel General, Lee, and his army were driven out of Pennsylvania and across the Potomac. On account of this patriotic service Colonel Wentworth and his command were considerably lionized, their homeward path, immediately following the victory of Gettysburg, being a continued ovation from Washington to Maine. They were also the recipients of a medal awarded by special vote of Congress.

Upon his return home, at the earnest solicitation of Governor Cony, Colonel Wentworth accepted the Colonelcy of the Thirtysecond Maine, which was organized, officered, and equipped under his personal supervision. The regiment was hurried to the front in detachments, one wing participating in the Battle of the Wilderness. The command was re-united at North Anna, and immediately upon assuming command Colonel Wentworth found himself and his newly organized regiment in the enemy's immediate front and surrounded by the "din and clatter and turmoil of that pandemonium which men call battle." The regiment heroically acquitted itself, and also later participated actively in the battles of Bethesada Church, Cold Harbor, Hanover Court-House, etc., and in the Petersburg siege. In the latter campaign, especially, the service of the Thirtysecond was very severe.

At the famous "Mine Explosion" in front of Petersburg, the regiment, as a portion of Griffin's brigade, guarded the mouth of the mine. When all was ready for the explosion, July 30, 1864, the regiment proceeded directly into the crater, in the hope and expectation of penetrating within the rebel lines. The regiment passed through the mine and was within the rebel lines. While reforming the line to push further on. General Bartlett bestowed upon Colonel Wentworth this pleasant compliment: "Colonel, I am glad to shake hands with the only officer who has led his men in." Just as Colonel Wentworth had given the order, "Forward," amid a fierce shower of bursting shells, he was seriously wounded, a bullet passing entirely through the left side of his body, having already, in its course, cilpped off the arm of his comrade, Sergt. Ray P. Eaton. Colonel Wentworth was rescued from the enemy's lines with great difficulty, and the escape of himself or any of his companions, has always been regarded as quite miraculous.. The colonel was unceremoniously rolled down an embankment and "dumped" into the Union entrenchments. At roll-call after that engagement, only two officers and twenty-seven privates responded to their names. Colonel Wentworth was tenderly carried to Maine, but his wound was so serious as to render it imprudent for him to continue in the service. He resigned his commission November, 1864. In 1865 he was brevetted Brigadier General of Volunteers, "for gallant and meritorious services during the war."

Since retiring from the military service, General Wentworth has filled a number of civil positions under the State and National Governments, and taken active part in the various enterprises and reforms of his time. In 1864 he was reappointed Navel Storekeeper at Kittery; was elected Representative in the Legislature in 1873-4, and again in 1880-1; was appointed on the Board of State Prison Inspectors in 1887, serving four years; and in the fall of 1891 was appointed by President Harrison, Surveyor of Customs for the District of Portland and Falmouth, succeeding the late Hon. Nathan Cleaves at the expiration of his term. This position he 'now holds. General Wentworth was also a delegate to the Republican Convention in 1868, that nominated General Grant; was one of the Maine Board of Electors of President and Vice-President in 1888; has long served upon the political committees of his party, town, country and State; and in 1873 only lacked a few votes of receiving the nomination of his party as Representative in Congress for the First District of Maine. General Wentworth continues to reside in Kittery, where he has a fine home, and is honored and respected by his town's people.


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