A historic personal sidearm presented to music teacher Samuel Thurston by his Portland, Maine grammar school students as he is about to leave the state as a Private of the 6th Maine Battery Light Artillery. Thurston entered service in Augusta, Maine August 22, 1862 and immediately went on detached service remaining in his home state for two months on recruiting duty. He would receive the Colt revolver from his students before leaving Maine to join his Battery at the seat of war. The music teacher took to the rigors of military life such that by November 1,1862 he had been promoted to Sergeant. The following July, Sgt. Thurston served admirably on the field at Gettysburg with McGilvery’s old Battery, now Dow’s 6th Maine Battery. Here that battery and its earlier commander, now Brigade Commander, Col Freeman McGilvery left their mark in history. The Portland, Maine music teacher come hardened combat veteran would promote to 2nd then 1st Lieutenant as the 6th Maine Mounted Battery continued to see much hard service in the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Opequan, Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek. At Spotsylvania Thurston was felled by a Confederate sharpshooter and carried from the field. Not to be denied his opportunity toward continued service, Lt. Thurston was in command of the front section of Fort McGilvery, named for the then deceased Col. Freeman McGilvery on the Petersburg line. Lt. Thurston was mustered out with his hard fought 6th Maine Light Artillery on June 17, 1865 at Augusta Maine.

A portion of Maine white pine flag staff with carved finial.
Fort McGilvery / Petersburg line