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20th Maine Regiment Infantry
in the Civil War

Regimental History
Twentieth Infantry. — Cols., Adelbert Ames, Joshua L. Chamberlain, Charles D. Gilmore, Ellis Spear; Lieut.-Cols., Joshua L. Chamberlain, Charles D. Gilmore, Walter G. Morrill, Thomas D. Chamberlain; Majs., Charles D. Gilmore, Ellis Spear, Atherton W. Clark, George R. Abbott. This was the last of the three-year regiments raised in the state in the summer of 1862. It was rendezvoused at Portland and mustered into the U. S. service Aug. 29, 1862. The original members whose term of service expired prior to Oct. 1, 1865, were mustered out at Washington, D. C, June 5, 1865, and the enlisted men of the 16th Me. infantry and the 1st Me. sharpshooters were transferred to the 20th, June 5 and June 21, 1865, respectively. The regiment as thus reorganized was finally mustered out near Washington, July 16, 1865. On Sept. 3, 1862, the 20th left the state, and on the 7th went into camp at the arsenal grounds, Washington, D. C. Attached to Butterfield's brigade, Porter's division, it formed a portion of the reserve at Antietam, and was under fire for 36 hours at the battle of Fredericksburg, where the men acted with great gallantry in this, their first serious battle. A list of the important battles in which the 20th subsequently engaged includes Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Totopotomy, North Anna river, Bethesda Church, Hatcher's run, Petersburg, Weldon railroad, Peebles' farm, Boydton road, Gravelly run and Five Forks. After the battle of Chancellorsville, Col. Ames was promoted to brigadier-general, and Lieut.-Col. Chamberlain assumed command. Under his command it formed the extreme left of the line at Gettysburg on the second day of that sanguinary contest and was hotly engaged for many hours. Its total loss was 3 officers and 134 enlisted men killed and wounded. At the opening of the spring campaign of 1864, recruits and returning convalescents augmented the numbers of the regiment about 100 men, so that it numbered 347 muskets. It was still attached to the 3d brigade, 1st division, 5th corps. On June 6, 1864, Col. Chamberlain was assigned to the command of the 1st brigade of the division and Maj. Spear assumed command of the regiment. In the gallant charge on the enemy's works at Peebles' farm on Sept. 30, 1864, it suffered a loss of 57 men killed and wounded, out of 167 men taken into action, but captured 6 commissioned officers, 70 men and a piece of artillery. Its whole number of casualties during the year 1864 was 298; and it received 200 recruits. In Jan., 1865, it mustered 275 muskets for duty. On the completion of negotiations for the surrender of Lee's army, the 20th was one of the regiments designated to receive the Confederate arms.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 1

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