The 1st Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was later re-activated in 1898 for the Spanish-American War, but did not serve overseas.
Abraham Lincoln's first call for volunteers in April, 1861 required Maine to raise one regiment of infantry for three months of Federal service. This was done by reorganizing ten existing companies of the state militia, completed at Portland, Maine on 28 April 1861 and mustered into service on 3 May 1861, a total of 779 soldiers. The regimental commander was Colonel Nathaniel Jackson.
The First Maine was transferred to Washington, D.C. on 1 June 1861, where it remained until 1 August 1861, encamped on Meridian Hill. It spent its entire service in the Washington defenses and saw no combat. They were mustered out on 5 August 1861.
Although the regiment's required Federal service was only three months, all of the soldiers had enlisted for two or three years. Many soldiers in the regiment who were required to remain in service joined the 10th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which retained eight of the 1st Maine's ten companies.
The regimental history was published as History of the 1st-10th-29th Maine Regiment written by Major John Mead Gould.
The regiment was mustered into the service of the United States at Augusta, Maine on 26 May 1898, with 46 officers and 979 enlisted men. The regiment moved to Chickamauga, Georgia, then a mobilization center. On 31 May it was assigned to Third Brigade, Second Division, Third Army Corps. The regiment did not deploy further and returned to Augusta, Maine 23-27 August after three months' service. On 21 September the regiment was furloughed for 30 days, and on 25 October the regiment's components began to muster out after five months' service. This was completed on 13 December with 46 officers and 1,211 enlisted men mustered out. A memorial plaque for Company K of the 1st Maine in the Spanish-American War is in a park near Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
The regiment lost no men during its brief period of service in the Civil War. In the Spanish-American War the unit lost two officers and 39 enlisted men to disease and 24 enlisted men to desertion.
The companies of the 1st Maine in the Civil War were named as follows:A - Portland Light Infantry
B - Portland Mechanic Blues
C - Portland Light Guards
D - Portland Rifle Corps
E - Portland Rifle Guards
F - Lewiston Light Infantry
G - Norway Light Infantry
H - Auburn Artillery
I - 2nd Co. Portland Rifle Guards
K - Lewiston Zouaves
A pre-Civil War incarnation of the 1st Maine was formed in state service in 1854, and thus was older than any other Maine regimental organization. An historian of the 240th AAA (Anti-Aircraft Artillery) Group, a former Maine National Guard unit, has concluded that numerous subsequent Volunteer Maine Militia and Maine National Guard units were descended from the 1st Maine via the Portland Light Infantry company.