Post War Copy Shot of Colonel H. M. Plaisted - From "Loder's Studio Pittsfield, Maine".
Harris Merrill Plaisted (November 2, 1828 – January 31, 1898) was an American Civil War general, U.S. Congressman, and the 38th Governor of Maine.
Plaisted was born in Jefferson, New Hampshire, the son of Deacon William and Nancy (Merrill) Plaisted. He attended the common schools there. He was graduated from Waterville College (now Colby College) in 1853 and the Albany Law School in New York in 1856. Admitted to the bar, he commenced practice in Bangor, Maine, in 1856.
Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Plaisted enlisted in the Union Army and was commissioned as the lieutenant colonel of the 11th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment on October 30, 1861. He was promoted to colonel on May 12, 1862, and led the regiment in several campaigns in the Eastern Theater. He commanded his regiment in the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and participated in the Siege of Yorktown and the subsequent Battle of Williamsburg. Later in the campaign, he fought at the Battle of Seven Pines and in the Seven Days Battles.
In 1863, he and his men were involved in the Siege of Charleston. The following year, he participated in the Overland Campaign and the Siege of Petersburg. He was brevetted as a Brigadier General of volunteers on February 21, 1865, and as a major general dating from March 13, 1865.
Following the war, Plaisted was elected as a Republican to the Maine House of Representatives 1867-1868, and served as delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1868. He was Attorney General of Maine 1873-1875, and appointed to the Forty-fourth United States Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Congressman Samuel F. Hersey. Plaisted served as a congressman from September 13, 1875, to March 3, 1877, and did not run for renomination.
Plaisted broke with the Republican Party and allowed himself to be nominated for Governor in 1880 by the new Greenback Party. His nomination was seconded by the Maine Democratic Party, and he thus became the "Fusion" candidate. Elected by less than 200 votes, he served as Governor of Maine from 1881-83. He was thereafter editor and publisher of the New Age in Augusta, Maine, from 1883 until his death in Bangor, Maine, January 31, 1898, when he was interred in Mount Hope Cemetery.
Harris Merrill Plaisted:
Resigned: 25 March 1865
Member, Maine Legislature, 1867 & 68
Attorney General of Maine, 1873, 74 & 75
Member of 44th Congress & Governor of Maine, 1881 & 82
Became Editor, The New Age, Augusta, Maine, 1883
Military Career Highlights:
Harris Plaisted made a significant and overlooked contribution to the war effort. At a time when State Governors tended to authorize formation of new regiments in order to profit from making politically motivated appointments of the field officers, Plaisted used the weapon he was most skilled at wielding - his own political influence - to recruit new volunteers for the 11th Maine throughout the war, ensuring a high percentage of veteran line officers and soldiers on the rolls, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of his regiment.
Inventory Number: CDV 307