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The men took to Chamberlain, admiring him for his willingness to get into the midst of things alongside of them.

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Throughout the winter and spring of the Union and Confederate Armies were making their way north with only a few minor engagements. The Battle of Gettysburg began July 1, , and at the end of the first day the Union Army had dug in on Cemetery Ridge and had command of the battlefield while the Confederate Army had taken position on Seminary Ridge. On July 2, , Confederate Gen. James Longstreet recommended that the rebel army move around the end of the Union line, get behind Gen.

George Mead's army and attack from that position, but Gen. Robert E. Lee ordered a direct attack. Because Sickle's Third Corps failed to take its assigned position at the left end of the Union line, after the Confederate attack began, four regiments of Vicent's Brigade, including the 20th Maine moved into position at Little Round Top. Chamberlain managed to move his troops into a position that surprised the Confederates and then, when the 20th Maine was close to losing its hold on the hill, Chamberlain ordered an unlikely attack with bayonets -- as the regiment was out of ammunition -- on the resting Confederate soldiers.

The regiment later participated in every major battle with the Army of the Potomac, but Gettysburg had been its moment in the sun. Chamberlain was soon put in command of a brigade and in was promoted to Brigadier General and later put in command by Ulysses S. Grant of all Union troops during the surrender of the Confederates. The 20th Maine regiment was mustered out of service on June 16, Out of a total enlistment of 1, men, nine officers and enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded and one officer and enlisted men died of disease, for a total of lost.

The Twentieth Maine

The war had a profound affect on many soldiers and transition back into civilian life was not always easy. Abner R. Small summed up the war well when he wrote in a letter to a friend, "War and heroes sound well in history but the reality is known to but the few that survive the strife. Sources: John J. Thomas A. Maine History Online.

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This is a breadcrumb navigation to take you back to previous pages. This slideshow contains 12 items. Joshua L. Chamberlain was the regiment's lieutenant colonel.

Twentieth Maine by John Pullen - AbeBooks

Joshua Chamberlain was promoted to Colonel and commander of the regiment. It was not until Gettysburg that the armies met in a full-scale fight.


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It would never again have as many men in its ranks as it did at Little Round Top. Except for classroom educational use, images and content may not be reproduced without permission.

The Twentieth Maine

General Sickles had moved the line too far ahead, causing the Confederates to take advantage of the bump in the line, but the men of the Nineteenth stood their ground in the wake of the Confederate attack. They were ordered to lie prone on the ground and then to rise and shoot when the Confederates were thirty-five yards away.


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The Confederates staggered, and their color bearer tried to rally them, but before he could accomplish this, he was shot down by the men of the Nineteenth. The Nineteenth then charged the Confederates, who broke and ran. The Nineteenth were able to take many prisoners and an enemy flag and recapture three cannons and four caissons. In addition to this, the Nineteenth Maine was also positioned near the Copse of Trees on the third day of battle. The Nineteenth endured bloody and intense hand-to-hand fighting that caused them to suffer heavy loses. They lost more than half of their men and became one of the ten regiments with the greatest number of wounded at Gettysburg.

The sacrifices and valor of the men of the Nineteenth, Sixteenth, Second, and other Maine regiments are not given as much attention as the Twentieth Maine.


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The charge of the Twentieth Maine is glorified in books and movies such as Gettysburg, and while it is deserving of this glory, it often distracts from the importance of the other Maine regiments. The stand of the Sixteenth Maine provided the First Corps with the precious minutes it needed to escape.

Maine at Gettysburg is meant to honor the sacrifices of the Maine men and make sure they are not forgotten in the shadow of the Twentieth Maine. Maine clearly played a large role in the Battle of Gettysburg, and some even go as far as to call Gettysburg a Maine Battlefield. Maine at Gettysburg is an attempt to record the efforts of the Maine men to ensure that their sacrifices will not be forgotten. Bell, Tom. Newspaper Source. Accessed October 12, Hamlin, Charles, Greenlief T. Stevens, Sidney W.

Thaxter, George W. Verill, and Charles E.