When news of the attack on Fort Sumpter reached the small town of Bethel, Maine, Clark S.Edwards was high on a ladder shingling his roof. He immediately climbed down, obtained permission from the appropriate authorities to form a company of men, and set out to gather recruits from Bethel and the surrounding towns.
This group became Company I, Fifth Regiment Maine Volunteer Infantry with Edwards as its Captain. He rose through the ranks and was appointed Colonel of the regiment following the resignation of Colonel E.A. Scammon in January 1863.
Following the war Col. Edwards, who had been breveted to Brigadier General for bravery in . battle, returned to Bethel to engage in farming. In 1898 he was appointed Maine’s Commissioner to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In that capacity he directed the construction of the State of Maine building which now stands in Poland Spring, Maine.
General Edwards retained close ties with his comrades in the Fifth Maine, spending many a summer day at the “cottage” on Peaks Island. His comrades, in turn, eulogized him in a stirring funeral service attended by Joshua Chamberlain.