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El vigésimo Maine en Little Round Top por H. S. Melcher, vigésimo regimiento de Maine - Historia

El vigésimo Maine en Little Round Top por H. S. Melcher, vigésimo regimiento de Maine - Historia


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La fuerza confederada designada para tomar posesión de Little Round Top parece haber sido la brigada de Robertson, formada por la 1ª, 4ª y 5ª Texas y la 3ª Arkansas; y la brigada de Law, que consta de la 4ª, 44ª, 48ª, 47ª y 15ª de Alabama, ambas de la división de Hood. El primero debía atacar de frente, mientras que la brigada de Law debía atacar en la parte trasera de la colina; pero Robertson, al descubrir que no podía cubrir todo el frente con su brigada, separó a los 44, 48 y 4 de Alabama de la brigada de Law aproximadamente en el momento en que llegaron al pie de Round Top en su avance y los conectó con la línea de Robertson, luego bien delante de Little Round Top. Esto dejó a Alabama 47 y 15 para llevar a cabo el movimiento de flanqueo solos, lo que hicieron, pasando por el lado sur de Round Top y deteniéndose unos diez minutos en la cresta para descansar. Esta parada resultó fatal para el éxito de su empresa, ya que permitió a nuestra brigada (la de Vincent) llegar a Little Round Top a tiempo para resistir su avance.

Reanudando su marcha, estos dos regimientos pasaron por el lado noreste de Round Top y avanzaron a través de la depresión boscosa entre las colinas para cargar por la parte trasera de Little Round Top y barrer a la brigada de Vincent, luego se enfrentaron ferozmente con los tejanos de Robertson y los tres. regimientos de la brigada de Law que habían sido asignados a su mando, que intentaban apoderarse del frente. Pero justo aquí estos, que era el regimiento izquierdo de la brigada de Vincent, y también la izquierda de todo el ejército del Potomac, y, para ajustarse a la cima de la colina, estaban doblados en ángulos rectos con la línea del resto del ejército. brigada. Esto fue una suerte, porque en su avance, el 47 ° Alabama, comandado por el teniente coronel Bulger, golpeó a nuestro regimiento directamente en el frente y abrió un fuego asesino en nuestra línea desprotegida, ya que acabábamos de ponernos en posición y no teníamos tiempo para vomitar. parapetos. Al mismo tiempo, el 15 de Alabama, comandado por el coronel William C. Oates, con 644 hombres y 42 oficiales, se movió para atacarnos por el flanco y la retaguardia. Nuestro coronel, el chambelán, se enfrentó a este movimiento colocando el ala derecha del regimiento en una sola fila para resistir al 47, e inclinó las cinco compañías izquierdas del regimiento en ángulo recto.

Nuestro regimiento contaba con 358 hombres, pero como la Compañía B, con 50 hombres, había sido enviada para "proteger nuestro flanco", teníamos 308 hombres en línea para resistir el furioso asalto de estos dos fuertes regimientos, superándonos en número más de 3 a 1. El conflicto fue feroz, pero necesariamente breve, ya que se trataba de poco tiempo en el que todo hombre debía caer ante el fuego superior de nuestro enemigo.

Cuando 130 de nuestros valientes oficiales y hombres habían sido derribados donde estaban, y solo quedaban 178, apenas más que una fuerte línea de escaramuza, y cada hombre había disparado las 60 rondas de cartuchos que llevaba a la pelea, y los sobrevivientes que estaban usando de las cajas de cartuchos de sus camaradas caídos, había llegado el momento en que debía decidirse si debíamos retroceder y entregar esta llave a todo el campo de Gettysburg, o cargar y tratar de deshacernos de este enemigo. El coronel Chamberlain dio la orden de "arreglar bayonetas", y casi antes de que pudiera decir "¡carga!" el regimiento saltó colina abajo y se acercó al enemigo, a quien encontramos detrás de cada roca y árbol. Sorprendidos y abrumados, la mayoría arrojó los brazos y se rindió.

Algunos lucharon hasta que los mataron; los demás corrían "como una manada de ganado salvaje", como lo expresó el propio coronel Oates. En su huida se encontraron con la Compañía B, el Capitán Morill, que supusimos había sido capturado, pero ahora atacado con tanta fuerza que más de un centenar de los fugitivos se vieron obligados a rendirse.

El teniente coronel Bulger, al mando de la 47, resultó herido y cayó en nuestras manos, con más de trescientos prisioneros y todos los heridos.

El vigésimo Maine regresó con sus prisioneros a la posición original, y permaneció allí hasta que se le ordenó avanzar a primera hora de la tarde a Round Top.


¿Un vínculo roto? La pequeña pelea entre Joshua Chamberlain y Ellis Spear

"Podría haberme salvado la vida" El teniente Holman Melcher (espada en alto) y el coronel Joshua Chamberlain ocuparon un lugar destacado en la carga de bayoneta del vigésimo Maine en Gettysburg. Chamberlain, que se muestra aquí recibiendo la rendición del teniente Robert H. Wicker del 15º de Alabama, más tarde le dio crédito a Melcher por haberle salvado la vida durante el cargo.

(Don Troiani / Colección privada / Bridgeman Images)

L a batalla épica del vigésimo Maine y la carga de bayoneta en Little Round Top el 2 de julio de 1863 aseguraron el lugar de ese regimiento en la historia militar. Durante el segundo día de lucha en Gettysburg, los comandantes coronel Joshua Chamberlain y el mayor Ellis Spear, que ya eran buenos amigos antes de la guerra, forjaron un vínculo aparentemente inquebrantable al ayudar a los muchachos de Pine Tree State a hacer retroceder la implacable 15a Alabama del coronel William Oates y prevenir un avance Confederado en el flanco izquierdo del Ejército del Potomac. Si el vigésimo Maine se hubiera roto antes del ataque, podría haber tenido un efecto dominó en otras unidades federales en apuros a lo largo de Cemetery Ridge. La grada del 20 fue un momento crítico en lo que se convirtió en un triunfo de los Yankees al día siguiente.

Chamberlain y Spear sobrevivieron a la guerra y vivieron vidas largas y prósperas, con una amistad aparentemente firme. Hace unos 25 años, sin embargo, comenzó a echar raíces la historia de que Spear murió amargado porque Chamberlain, a expensas de él y otros en el regimiento, había reclamado demasiado crédito por su éxito en Little Round Top en un relato de posguerra. Hay elementos de verdad en lo que conocemos hoy como la “Controversia entre el chambelán y la lanza”, pero la idea de que existió una enemistad de sangre entre los dos es inverosímil y digna de un examen más detenido.

Spear y Chamberlain crecieron como los mayores de cuatro niños en familias que se habían asentado generaciones antes en pequeñas comunidades de construcción naval río arriba de la costa de Maine. En el censo de Estados Unidos de 1860, la ciudad natal de Spear, Warren, tenía 2.300 habitantes y Chamberlain's Brewer, 2.800. Ambos hombres asistirían al Bowdoin College en Brunswick, con la promoción de 1858 de Spear estudiando con el profesor Chamberlain, un graduado de 1852.

De las cartas entre los dos, está claro que en la universidad, Spear era amigo cercano del próximo hermano menor de Chamberlain, Horace. Aunque tenían dos años de diferencia como estudiantes, se mantuvieron en contacto, incluso visitándose después de graduarse mientras cada uno estudiaba derecho. Horace incluso podría haber terminado siendo el tercer hermano de Chamberlain en servir en el vigésimo Maine, junto con Joshua y Thomas, el más joven, si no hubiera muerto solo nueve meses antes de que se formara la unidad.

Un breve descanso de la guerra: Ellis Spear se tomó esta foto mientras estaba de permiso en Portland, Maine. Página opuesta: La gorra de forraje que usó Spear mientras estaba en el vigésimo Maine. (La colección de la familia Hayes en MaineLegacy.com)

Spear y Chamberlain tuvieron una especie de reunión cuando se encontraron sirviendo en el mismo regimiento de infantería a fines del verano de 1862. En la formación del vigésimo Maine, Spear ganó un puesto como capitán, habiendo reclutado a la mayor parte de los hombres para lo que se convirtió en La Compañía G. Chamberlain de esa unidad no reclutó personalmente a miembros del regimiento, pero el gobernador le concedió una comisión como teniente coronel, segundo al mando. Durante la guerra, Spear también cuidó de Thomas, lo llevó a su compañía, lo promovió e incluso lo recomendó para el mando de la unidad cuando el propio Spear fue ascendido.

En los años de la posguerra, el afecto que Spear tenía por el chambelán mayor no disminuyó. Mantuvieron correspondencia, asistieron a reuniones y otros eventos juntos, y compartieron un papel clave en la conmemoración de su antiguo regimiento. En 1896, Spear escribió a Tom Chamberlain explicándole sus intentos de convencer al Congreso de que aprobara un proyecto de ley que aumentaba la pensión del general de $ 25 al mes a $ 100. "Por favor escríbame y avíseme cómo está y si probablemente estará en Maine este verano y dónde". Spear escribió. "Puede que tenga la oportunidad de verlo en el verano y espero verte".

Tres años después, Spear seguía abogando por el aumento de las pensiones. En una carta al representante Amos Allen (republicano por Maine), escribió: “[Joshua Chamberlain] tiene setenta años y es pobre. Mantiene la mejor apariencia que puede, y es sensible y orgulloso, y es el último hombre en suplicar, o incluso admitir la pobreza ". Spear agregó grandes elogios a su ex comandante. “Yo estaba con él cuando fue herido y sé lo grave que fue. La creencia común era que no se recuperaría. El suyo es el caso más conspicuo y singular del Estado de servicio distinguido en la guerra, viejos y pobres ”.

La descripción de Spear de la pobreza de Chamberlain puede haber sido exagerada —el viejo general era dueño de una casa en Brunswick, una casa de verano más grande a unas pocas millas de distancia y un yate— pero las cartas revelan un respeto y admiración continuos por parte de Spear y un esfuerzo activo por cuidar por su antiguo compañero. Sin embargo, sus esfuerzos por ayudar en la situación financiera de Chamberlain, incluso mientras conspiraban con Tom para mantenerlos alejados de su hermano, demostraron que los sentimientos de Spear eran mucho más compasivos que cualquier otra cosa.

Cualquiera que sea la situación financiera de Joshua Chamberlain al final de su vida, no rechazó una oferta de $ 500 de Revista cosmopolita en 1912 para escribir una descripción de su papel en la Batalla de Fredericksburg para un número que celebraba el 50 aniversario de esa batalla. Tampoco se desanimó varios meses después cuando el mismo editor pidió un artículo similar en Gettysburg para la revista Hearst en 1913.

Los manuscritos originales de estos dos artículos nunca se han encontrado, por lo que no es posible una comparación detallada de su redacción original con lo que apareció en forma impresa después de que los editores hicieran su trabajo. Ambas revistas, sin embargo, eran propiedad de William Randolph Hearst, el hombre que inventó el periodismo sensacionalista e incluso fue acusado por algunos de iniciar la guerra entre Estados Unidos y España en 1898. Aunque la historia probablemente sea apócrifa, a Hearst se le atribuye el mérito de haber enviado el conocido ilustrador Frederic Remington a Cuba para cubrir la guerra. Remington pronto telegrafió a casa diciendo: “Todo tranquilo. Aquí no hay problema. No habrá guerra. Deseo volver ". La supuesta respuesta de Hearst fue: "Tú proporcionas las fotos, yo proporcionaré la guerra", y eso fue lo que hizo, utilizando sus periódicos para incitar al gobierno de los Estados Unidos a declarar la guerra.

“Los editores de Hearst mutilaron y 'corrigieron' mi 'Gettysburg' para que no haya intentado obtener copias de la revista en la que aparecía” - Joshua L. Chamberlain

Los editores de Hearst sin duda siguieron el ejemplo de su propietario, tentando a los lectores a comprar copias de sus revistas publicando historias dramáticamente embellecidas que despertaron el interés del público, ya fueran veraces o no. Está claro que los editores se tomaron libertades significativas con ambas piezas que Chamberlain suministró a las publicaciones periódicas de Hearst, en particular la segunda pieza sobre Gettysburg, que escribió antes de leer la versión publicada de su ensayo de Fredericksburg.

Cuando amigos y admiradores mencionaron el artículo de Hearst "A través de la sangre y el fuego en Gettysburg", Chamberlain se irritó y se lamentó de que "está muy restringido y cambiado por la inserción de 'tejido conectivo' por parte del editor". Cuando una admiradora lo felicitó por el artículo, Chamberlain respondió: "Los editores de Hearst mutilaron y 'corrigieron' mi 'Gettysburg' para que no haya intentado obtener copias de la revista en la que aparecía".

La lectura de estos artículos afectó mucho a Spear, cuyos recuerdos de la guerra eran oscuros y trágicos. Consideraba aborrecible este tipo de escritos "vanos y gloriosos", pero nunca tuvo la oportunidad de discutirlos con su ex comandante, que murió un año después de la publicación del artículo de Gettysburg. Si lo hubiera hecho, se habría sorprendido al descubrir que las versiones publicadas no eran del agrado de Chamberlain.

Sin copias de los borradores originales de Chamberlain, no podemos adivinar por completo cuánto de cada artículo salió de su pluma y cuánto fue la exageración o invención de algún editor sensacionalista de Hearst. Sin embargo, hay pistas. Por ejemplo, dentro del artículo de Gettysburg hay una supuesta carta, impresa palabra por palabra en forma completa, de un 15 ° soldado de Alabama que recordó que en Gettysburg repetidamente tuvo a Chamberlain en la mira, pero "alguna noción extraña" le impidió apretar el gatillo. Concluyó diciendo: "Ahora me alegro, y espero que usted lo esté".

En ninguna parte de todas las voluminosas colecciones de cartas que Chamberlain recibió durante su vida, no existe una copia de esta carta ni ninguna mención de este episodio. Sin embargo, Hearst lo publicó en forma completa. Lo que se puede encontrar en una de estas colecciones es una carta de un ex alumno de Bowdoin que, en 1903, visitó un hotel en el sur propiedad de un veterano del 15 de Alabama. En él, el historiador contaba la historia del veterano de cómo había disparado a Chamberlain en Little Round Top, pero “La vida de Chamberlain solo se salvó por el acto de un soldado raso que saltó frente al Coronel y recibió el disparo él mismo matándolo. "

Si bien no hay evidencia directa para apoyar la noción, uno puede imaginar fácilmente que el borrador de Chamberlain incluía una referencia a esta carta real, a partir de la cual la gente de Hearst imaginó y de hecho creó una historia similar pero más dramática y creó una carta completa con la que dramatizar. eso.

En un ensayo que nunca publicó, Spear diseccionó analíticamente "Mi historia de Fredericksburg" de Chamberlain punto por punto, exponiendo lo que él veía como declaraciones absurdas. Envejecido y enfermo (tenía 78 años cuando se imprimió el artículo de Gettysburg), Spear expresó sus frustraciones ante muchos de los "recuerdos" de Chamberlain de estas dos batallas.

Entre las más reveladoras está la descripción en el relato de Fredericksburg de Chamberlain de cuando el regimiento, en su camino hacia la vorágine mortal en Marye’s Heights, se encontró con un perro callejero. En sus memorias, Spear recordó que durante una pausa, "[un] perrito vino gimiendo de miedo, evidentemente la mascota de la casa de alguien y lo tomé en mis brazos y lo sostuve mientras permanecía allí". La historia del mismo canino rebelde, sin embargo, apareció en el artículo de Fredericksburg de Chamberlain de manera muy diferente: "Mis ojos fueron tomados por la forma de un perro amarillo, sentado muy erguido con los ojos fijos en su amo muerto". El perro permaneció allí obsesionado, fiel hasta el final, a pesar del zumbido de las balas y el estallido de los proyectiles. “De hecho, hubiera sido una lástima, casi un sacrilegio, perturbar esa tutela. Y lo dejamos allí ".

Esa misma sección de la descripción de Fredericksburg incluyó un encuentro con una bandada de palomas que se negaron a escapar del tumulto, a pesar de su capacidad para volar.

Si estas cuentas fueron escritas tal como las redactó Chamberlain o fueron la invención parcial o completa de algún escriba de Hearst con la intención de vender más revistas, solo podemos especular. Sin embargo, hay un comentario revelador, escrito por Chamberlain en los márgenes de una copia impresa temprana que se le envió para comentar. Junto a esta parte del texto, escribió: "Por favor, elimine los episodios de perros y palomas". A pesar de su súplica, estos "episodios" melodramáticos permanecieron en la impresión final.

Si estas pistas sobre cómo los editores de las revistas de principios del siglo XX, al menos las propiedad de WR Hearst, reescribieron artículos para complacer a sus lectores, entonces la "vanagloria" que Ellis Spear encontró tan desagradable en los escritos de su antiguo amigo, profesor, comandante y compañero veterano, eran simplemente la invención de alguien que no era Chamberlain. Si este fuera el caso, y si Chamberlain hubiera sobrevivido lo suficiente como para que los dos viejos camaradas compartieran su disgusto con el resultado de estos dos esfuerzos literarios, Spear podría haber entendido su verdadera fuente y la llamada "Controversia Chamberlain-Spear" tal vez nunca han surgido más de tres cuartos de siglo después.

Tom Desjardin, nativo de Pine Tree State, es director de la Oficina de Parques y Tierras de Maine. Ex historiador del Parque Militar Nacional de Gettysburg, Desjardin es autor de varios libros, entre ellos Manténganse firmes, muchachos de Maine. También fue consultor del actor Jeff Daniels durante el rodaje de la película de 1993. Gettysburg.

Llamadas cercanas: Melcher, (arriba) y Chamberlain casi fueron asesinados con pocas semanas de diferencia en 1864: Melcher en Spotsylvania Court House en mayo y Chamberlain (abajo) en Petersburg el 18 de junio (Archivos del Estado de Maine)


Por qué importaba la colina llamada Little Round Top

A medida que se desarrollaba la Batalla de Gettysburg durante el primer día, las tropas de la Unión mantuvieron una serie de crestas altas que se extendían hacia el sur desde la ciudad. En el extremo sur de esa cresta había dos colinas distintas, conocidas localmente durante años como Big Round Top y Little Round Top.

La importancia geográfica de Little Round Top es obvia: quien controlara ese terreno podría dominar el campo al oeste por millas. Y, con la mayor parte del Ejército de la Unión dispuesto al norte de la colina, la colina representaba el flanco extremo izquierdo de las líneas de la Unión. Perder esa posición sería desastroso.

Y a pesar de eso, mientras un gran número de tropas tomaron posiciones durante la noche del 1 de julio, los comandantes de la Unión pasaron por alto de alguna manera a Little Round Top. En la mañana del 2 de julio de 1863, la estratégica cima de la colina estaba apenas ocupada. Un pequeño destacamento de señaleros, tropas que transmitían órdenes mediante señales de bandera, había llegado a la cima de la colina. Pero no había llegado ningún destacamento de combate importante.

El comandante de la Unión, el general George Meade, había enviado a su jefe de ingenieros, el gobernador general K. Warren, para inspeccionar las posiciones federales a lo largo de las colinas al sur de Gettysburg. Cuando Warren llegó a Little Round Top, inmediatamente se dio cuenta de su importancia.

Warren sospechaba que las tropas confederadas se estaban concentrando para un asalto a la posición. Pudo conseguir que un equipo de armas cercano disparara una bala de cañón hacia el bosque al oeste de Little Round Top. Y lo que vio confirmó sus temores: cientos de soldados confederados se movían por el bosque mientras la bala de cañón pasaba por encima de sus cabezas. Warren afirmó más tarde que podía ver la luz del sol brillando en las bayonetas y los cañones de los rifles.


20o Regimiento de Infantería Voluntaria de Maine

Hay dos monumentos y un marcador de posición de la compañía para el 20º Regimiento de Infantería Voluntaria de Maine en Gettysburg.

Acerca del vigésimo regimiento de infantería de voluntarios de Maine en Gettysburg

La vigésima infantería voluntaria de Maine llevó a 386 hombres a Gettysburg, de los cuales 29 murieron, 91 resultaron heridos y 5 desaparecieron. Los nombres de las víctimas se enumeran en el monumento en Little Round Top.

El Coronel Chamberlain y el Sargento Andrew Tozier recibieron la Medalla de Honor por sus acciones el 2 de julio. Chamberlain por & # 8220 heroísmo atrevido y gran tenacidad al mantener su posición en el Little Round Top contra asaltos repetidos, y llevar la posición de avance en el Great Round Top & # 8221 Tozier que, & # 8220 En la crisis del compromiso, este soldado, un color portador, se paró solo en una posición avanzada, el regimiento había sido llevado hacia atrás, y defendió sus colores con mosquete y municiones recogidas a sus pies. & # 8221

El coronel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, el vigésimo comandante de Maine & # 8217 en la batalla de Gettysburg, se ha convertido en uno de los hombres más famosos de la Guerra Civil gracias a la novela Los ángeles asesinos y la pelicula Gettysburg. Fue herido seis veces, ganó la Medalla de Honor y, después de la guerra, se desempeñó como gobernador de Maine y presidente de Bowdoin College.

Lado izquierdo del monumento principal al vigésimo Maine en Little Round Top

Monumento principal al 20 de Maine

El monumento principal está en el lado sureste de Little Round Top. (Mapa turístico de Little Round Top) Esto marca el centro de la línea que el regimiento sostuvo durante su famosa defensa de Little Round Top el 2 de julio. Fue dedicado en 1886 por el estado de Maine.

Desde el frente del monumento principal en Little Round Top

Vigésimo maine

Infantería voluntaria
Tercer Brig. Primera Div.
Quinto Cuerpo

Desde el lado derecho del monumento principal en Little Round Top

Aquí el vigésimo regimiento de Maine,
Coronel J.L. Chamberlain al mando, formando el
extrema izquierda de la línea de batalla nacional
el 2 de julio de 1863, rechazó la
ataque de la extrema derecha de Longstreet & # 8217s
Corps y cargaron a su vez, capturando 308
prisioneros. El regimiento perdió 38 muertos o
heridos de muerte y 93 heridos de
358 comprometidos.

Este monumento erigido por supervivientes de
este regimiento d.C. 1888. Marca muy cerca
el lugar donde estaban los colores.

Desde el lado izquierdo del monumento principal

Nombres de los oficiales y hombres del vigésimo
Voluntarios de Maine que fueron asesinados o murieron de
heridas recibidas en esta acción:

Desde la parte trasera del monumento principal

Priv. Oscar Wyer Co. F
& # 8221 Charles F. Hall & # 8221 F
& # 8221 Benjamin W. Grant & # 8221 F
& # 8221 Frank B. Curtis & # 8221 F
& # 8221 Elfin J. Ross & # 8221 F
Serg. William S. Jordan y # 8221 G
Corp. Melville C. Law & # 8221 G
Priv. James A. Knight y # 8221 G
1er Serg. Charles W. Steele y # 8221 H
Serg. George W. Buck & # 8221 H
& # 8221 Isaac M. Lathrop & # 8221 H
Priv. Aaaron Adams y # 8221 H
& # 8221 Goodwin S. Irlanda & # 8221 H
& # 8221 Iredell Lamson & # 8221 H
& # 8221 Alexander E. Lester & # 8221 I
1er Serg. George S. Noyes y # 8221 K
Priv. James R. Merrill y # 8221 K
& # 8221 William F. Merrill & # 8221 K
& # 8221 Stephen C. Chase & # 8221 K
& # 8221 Williard W. Buxton & # 8221 K

Ubicación del monumento principal al 20o Regimiento de Infantería de Maine

El monumento principal al vigésimo Maine se encuentra en Little Round Top al sur de Gettysburg. Está en el lado sureste de Little Round Top, aproximadamente 170 yardas al sur del área de estacionamiento a lo largo de Sykes Avenue y aproximadamente 65 yardas al noreste de la intersección de las avenidas Sykes, Warren y Wright. (39 ° 47 & # 821722.1 & # 8243N 77 ° 14 & # 821710.1 & # 8243W)

Marcador de posición de la empresa B en Little Round Top

Un marcador que muestra la posición del 20º Regimiento de Maine y la Compañía B # 8217 durante la defensa de Little Round Top está a 100 yardas al este del monumento principal. El Capitán Morrill y unos 40 hombres de la Compañía B acompañados por un grupo de Tiradores de Estados Unidos fueron colocados aquí para brindar cierta protección al flanco del 20º Maine.

Monumento a la Compañía B de la vigésima infantería de Maine en Gettysburg

Desde el monumento a la Compañía B en Little Round Top:

Posición de la empresa B,
20th Me. Vol., Capitán Walter G. Morrill,
separados como escaramuzadores,
atacando al enemigo y el flanco derecho # 8217s,
tarde del 2 de julio de 1863.

Ubicación del marcador de posición de la empresa B

El monumento a la Compañía B del vigésimo Maine en Little Round Top está en el lado sureste de Little Round Top, a unas 100 yardas al este del monumento principal. (39 ° 47 & # 821720.0 & # 8243N 77 ° 14 & # 821705.0 & # 8243W)

Monumento al vigésimo regimiento de Maine en Big Round Top

Un tercer monumento al vigésimo Maine en Gettysburg se encuentra cerca de la cima de Big Round Top. Muestra la posición a la que avanzó el 20 de Maine durante la noche del 2 de julio y que mantuvo hasta la mañana del día 3. El monumento fue dedicado en 1889.

Monumento a la vigésima infantería de Maine en Big Round Top

Desde el monumento en Big Round Top:

El vigésimo registro de Maine. 3d Brig. 1er. Div. El Coronel del Quinto Cuerpo Joshua L. Chamberlain capturó y ocupó esta posición en la noche del 2 de julio de 1863, persiguiendo al enemigo desde su frente en la línea marcada por su monumento debajo. El Regt. perdidos en la batalla 130 muertos y heridos de los 358 comprometidos. Este monumento marca el extremo izquierdo de la línea Unión durante la batalla del tercer día.

Ubicación del vigésimo monumento de Maine en Big Round Top

El monumento al vigésimo Maine en Big Round Top está al sur de Gettysburg, a unos 350 metros por el sendero relativamente empinado hasta la cima de Big Round Top. (39 ° 47 & # 821711.9 & # 8243N 77 ° 14 & # 821722.4 & # 8243W) El comienzo del sendero hacia el sendero para caminar se encuentra en el lado sur de South Confederate Avenue, que es unidireccional hacia el este. Los visitantes pueden desear visitar este monumento primero antes de continuar por South Confederate Avenue hasta Little Round Top.

Lectura recomendada:

El vigésimo Maine: Una historia clásica de Joshua Chamberlain y su regimiento de voluntarios

& # 8220 Mejor historia de la unidad de la Guerra Civil que he leído & # 8217ve. & # 8221
& # 8220 El relato definitivo de este valiente regimiento & # 8221
& # 8211 evaluaciones de Amazon


Thomas D. Chamberlain nació en Brewer, Maine, el menor de cinco hermanos. El joven Tom creció en la granja familiar en Brewer con sus cuatro hermanos mayores: Joshua Lawrence (nacido en 1828), Horace Beriah (1834), Sarah Brastow (1836) y John Calhoun (1838). Su educación parece haber sido estricta y religiosa pero también amorosa. Thomas era un niño travieso y simpático —su hermano lo llamaba un "pequeño pícaro" - y, como el bebé de la familia, era el favorito de su madre. Thomas fue el único hijo que no asistió a la universidad. Se desconoce si esto se debió a la falta de inteligencia, aplicación o inclinación. A mediados de su adolescencia, Thomas trabajaba como empleado en una tienda de comestibles en Bangor.

Los bisabuelos de Chamberlain fueron soldados en la Guerra de Independencia de los Estados Unidos y su abuelo había servido durante la Guerra de 1812. Su padre también había servido durante la abortada Guerra de Aroostook de 1839. Su hermano Joshua también estaba en el ejército.

En 1862, Chamberlain se unió al Ejército de la Unión. Sus motivos eran mixtos: personales, patrióticos y religiosos.

Pronto fue colocado en la recién formada vigésima infantería de Maine junto con su hermano Joshua, quien fue nombrado coronel del regimiento.

El vigésimo regimiento de Maine marchó a la batalla de Antietam, pero no participó en la lucha. Lucharon en la Batalla de Fredericksburg, sufriendo bajas bajas en los asaltos a Marye's Heights, pero se vieron obligados a pasar una noche miserable en el helado campo de batalla entre los muchos heridos y muertos de otros regimientos. Se perdieron la batalla de Chancellorsville en mayo de 1863 debido a un brote de viruela en sus filas, que los mantuvo de guardia en la retaguardia. En junio de 1863, Joshua fue ascendido a coronel del regimiento, tras la promoción de su primer coronel, Adelbert Ames, a mando de brigada. Thomas Chamberlain estuvo involucrado en la mayoría de las otras batallas en las que luchó el vigésimo Maine, sobre todo la Batalla de Gettysburg.

La batalla de Gettysburg Editar

Durante la defensa de Little Round Top, el vigésimo Maine sufrió un fuerte ataque del 15o regimiento confederado de Alabama, parte de la división dirigida por el mayor general John Bell Hood, y después de unas 3-4 horas de lucha, el vigésimo Maine corrió por completo. sin municiones. El hermano de Chamberlain, Joshua, reconoció las terribles circunstancias y ordenó a su ala izquierda que respondiera a los rebeldes cargando cuesta abajo con bayonetas fijas, poniendo fin al ataque confederado en la colina. El 20 de Maine y el 83 de Pensilvania juntos capturaron a más de 400 soldados de las fuerzas confederadas atacantes. Joshua resultó levemente herido en el pie por una bala gastada. Thomas resultó ileso, excepto por "varios rasguños". Como resultado de su valiente defensa de la colina, los hermanos Chamberlain, especialmente Joshua Chamberlain, y el 20th Maine ganaron una gran reputación y fueron objeto de muchas publicaciones e historias.

Después de Gettysburg Editar

Después de Gettysburg, las principales batallas en las que participaron Thomas Chamberlain y el vigésimo Maine fueron la Batalla del Palacio de Justicia de Spotsylvania y el Asedio de Petersburgo. En el Asedio de Petersburgo, el vigésimo Maine estaba en reserva, mientras que Joshua (en contra de su mejor juicio) dirigió su brigada Pennsylvania Bucktail en una carga en una sección de las defensas confederadas conocida como Saliente de Rives. Volviéndose para dirigir a sus tropas, Joshua fue golpeado por una bola de minié, que entró justo debajo de su cadera derecha, le cortó la vejiga y la uretra, y se detuvo en su cadera izquierda. Una herida tan devastadora debería haber sido fatal, y cuando llegó al hospital de campaña, a tres millas detrás de las líneas, se temió que se le acabara la vida. Thomas Chamberlain, de regreso con su regimiento, finalmente escuchó la noticia. Él y el cirujano del 20 de Maine, el Dr. Abner O. Shaw, fueron al hospital donde Joshua estaba muriendo. Mientras Thomas esperaba, el Dr. Shaw, con el Dr. Morris W. Townsend, del 44º de Nueva York, trabajaron toda la noche para tratar de salvar la vida de Joshua Chamberlain. Treinta y cinco años después, Joshua Chamberlain escribió que, después de que los cirujanos terminaron: "Tom se paró sobre mí como un hermano, y tal como él era". Sorprendentemente, el coronel Chamberlain sobrevivió para disfrutar de su ascenso "en el acto" a general de brigada, aunque nunca volvió a estar en plena forma. Varios biógrafos de Joshua Chamberlain dicen que su vida se salvó gracias a la actividad de su hermano, Thomas.

Campaña Appomattox Editar

Después de Petersburgo, Thomas Chamberlain y el vigésimo Maine estuvieron involucrados en la Batalla de Five Forks (por la cual fue galardonado con el Teniente Coronel Brevet por su valentía) y la Batalla de Appomattox Courthouse. Al final de la guerra, el 20 de Maine marchó desde Appomattox, Virginia, el 2 de mayo, llegando a Washington, DC, el 12 de mayo, donde finalmente fue retirado del servicio el 16 de julio de 1865. Terminó la guerra con el grado de teniente coronel.

Después de la guerra, a pesar de su distinguido historial militar, Chamberlain pasó de un trabajo a otro. Sufría de alcoholismo, así como enfermedades graves de los pulmones y del corazón. Murió a los 55 años en Bangor, Maine.

Chamberlain fue un personaje de la novela histórica ganadora del Premio Pulitzer de Michael Shaara, Los ángeles asesinos. También fue retratado en la película basada en esa novela, Gettysburg, interpretado por el actor C. Thomas Howell, quien repitió ese papel en la Dioses y generales precuela, basada en la novela, Dioses y generales, escrito por Jeff Shaara, el hijo de Michael Shaara. Chamberlain es retratado en las dos películas como un enérgico y joven compañero de su comandante y hermano mayor, Joshua Chamberlain (interpretado por Jeff Daniels).


La carga que salvó a la Unión: Gettysburg 20a carga de bayoneta de Maine en Little Round Top, 2 de julio de 1863

Little Round Top de Edwin Forbes

El flanco izquierdo estaba formado por 386 oficiales y hombres del 20º regimiento de Maine y el 83º de Pensilvania. Al ver a los confederados moverse alrededor de su flanco, Chamberlain primero estiró su línea hasta el punto donde sus hombres estaban en una sola fila, luego ordenó a la mitad más al sur de su línea que retrocediera durante una pausa después de otra carga confederada. Fue allí donde & # 8220 rechazaron la línea & # 8221, formaron un ángulo con la línea principal en un intento de evitar la maniobra de flanqueo confederada. A pesar de las grandes pérdidas, el vigésimo Maine resistió dos cargos posteriores por el decimoquinto regimiento de Alabama y otros regimientos confederados durante un total de noventa minutos.

Chamberlain (sabiendo que sus hombres estaban sin municiones, su número se estaba agotando y sus hombres no serían capaces de rechazar otra carga confederada) ordenó a sus hombres equipar bayonetas y contraatacar. Ordenó a su flanco izquierdo, que había sido retirado, que avanzara en una maniobra de & # 8216 rueda derecha hacia adelante & # 8217. As soon as they were in line with the rest of the regiment, the remainder of the regiment would charge akin to a door swinging shut. This simultaneous frontal assault and flanking maneuver halted and captured a good portion of the 15th Alabama.[16] While Chamberlain ordered the advance, Lieutenant Holman Melcher spontaneously and separate to Chamberlain’s command initiated a charge from the center of the line that further aided the regiment’s efforts.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain ordered the bayonet charge on Little Round Top.
During their retreat, the Confederates were subjected to a volley of rifle fire from Company B of the 20th Maine, commanded by Captain Walter G. Morrill, and a few of the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters, who had been placed by Chamberlain behind a stone wall 150 yards to the east, hoping to guard against an envelopment. This group, who had been hidden from sight, caused considerable confusion in the Confederate ranks.

Thirty years later, Chamberlain received a Medal of Honor for his conduct in the defense of Little Round Top. The citation read that it was awarded for “daring heroism and great tenacity in holding his position on the Little Round Top against repeated assaults, and ordering the advance position on the Great Round Top.” About Little Round Top

Little Round Top (left) and [Big] Round Top, photographed from Plum Run Valley in 1909

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Hi Gerard– Thanks for this post. Here are two links to paintings from the National Guard’s Heritage Series about July 2, 1863. The first is “The Twentieth Maine,” http://www.nationalguard.mil/Resources/Image-Gallery/Historical-Paintings/Heritage-Series/Twentieth-Maine/

Not to detract from the valor of Chamberlain’s charge at Little Round Top, the First Minnesota suffered appalling casualties in preventing the Confederates from pushing the Union forces off Cemetery Ridge on July 2. “The unit’s flag fell five times and was raised again each time. The 47 survivors [out of 262 men] rallied back to General Hancock under the senior surviving officer, Captain Nathan S. Messick. The 82% casualty rate stands to this day as the largest loss by any surviving military unit in U.S. history during a single day’s engagement.”

Two of my great-great-grandfathers were in one of the German-speaking Pennsylvania regiments at Gettysburg. They were not hotheads– their high respect for the Confederate soldiers they met at Gettysburg has been passed down through my family’s history. I hope Gerard will add a few words about the need to avoid another bloodletting like the one we endured from 1861 through 1865.

I’ve been there, many times, but I won’t tell the story. But I will say that the most amazing thing I ever saw was in the Gettysburg museum and it can’t be appreciated until you see it with your own bare eyeballs. Hundreds upon hundreds of bullets that met in mid-air on display on a wall. And those are just the ones that were found. I’m sure more than that are still in the ground.

Think of that. 2 bullets hitting in mid air is an almost impossibility if you tried to do it. But hundreds upon hundreds of them? The hellfire must have been thick enough to go hiking on. How does anybody survive something like that?

I was born there.
I seen that wall for the first time when I was about 8, and then many times after. It bore right into my skall. I learned everything possible about the civil war and gettysburg in particular and Lincoln was my hero. 40 years later I found out that most of what I learned was a lie. A goddamned lie. It was about then that I started to grow a deep distrust for this rotten assed gov’t. How dare they lie to me that way then, and now? If not for people like me they wouldn’t exist, and they lie to me? Over and over and over? I have no use for it. Any of it. Siempre.

Too bad my side didn’t win their independence on that battlefield. I’d have preferred the outcome if the 15th Alabama had drove a bayonet into Chamberlin’s abolitionist guts and rolled the whole Yankee line up.

Amazing battle and extraordinary courage on both sides. But the battle that saved the Union? Nope, not even close. It probably had almost no noteworthy effect on the course of the battle. I rest my case upon a lecture of the battle given to me and my fellow officers by the US Army’s Chief of Military History (Ph.D., Princeton University), Brig. Gen. Nelson (can’t recall his first name), who I would say spoke with authority. I posted about it back in 2013 (with the same video, too!). “Little Round Top battle was not a decisive action.”

I hear ya Ghostsniper. I never thought much about the civil war when I was growing up. My best friend in high school was a black guy who couldn’t get enough of it. I never doubted the official narrative until one day my friend told me straight out that Lincoln started the war intentionally.

I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t. That was years ago, but since then i’ve discovered he was right. That war was intentionally provoked by Lincoln, and it was done to stop European trade from moving out of New York to Southern ports, taking 200 million dollars per year with it.

We are still living with the consequences of that war today, though many of us don’t recognize it because we don’t see the roots of what has happened regarding Federal power.

We are way far away from what the founders intended regarding Federal power.

Who started the war and why? The Northerners knew at the time and said so. & # 8220
The Civil War did not start over slavery.”


(Appeared in July, 1996, Camp Chase Gazette and reprinted by permission)

Jim Morgan has written on various topics for CCG over the years. His somewhat divergent Civil War interests include artillery and music. In addition to writing artillery articles, he has produced a tape of Civil War music called "Just Before the Battle" and is now working on a second tape. Currently living in Lovettsville, Va, Jim works as the Acquisitions Librarian for the U.S. Information Agency in Washington, DC.

In November, 1896, Ellis Spear, formerly of the 20th Maine, sent a manuscript to Joshua L. Chamberlain, his old commanding officer, with the request that Chamberlain review it. The manuscript, authored by Spear, covered certain events from the wartime history of their regiment and Spear wanted Chamberlain's comments and evaluation.

In his response, Chamberlain noted some of the then-recent writings about the 20th Maine at Little Round Top, saying that "quite a number of things have been put in distorted perspective lately."1

"The Melcher incident," Chamberlain said, referring to Lieutenant Holman S. Melcher, "is also magnified. He is now presented to the public as having suggested the charge. There is no truth in this. I had communicated with you before he came and asked me if he could not advance his company and gather in some prisoners in his front. I told him to take his place with his company that I was about to order a general charge. He went on the run and did, I have no doubt, gallant service but he did no more than many others did, - you for instance, on whom so much responsibility devolved in bringing up the left wing and making it a concave instead of a convex line in the sweeping charge." 2

Nearly a century has passed since that Chamberlain-Spear exchange and the question, "Who saved Little Round Top?," has not been much debated during that time. Though some have claimed the honor for Brigadier General Gouverneur Warren because of his perception, for Colonel Strong Vincent because of his initiative, or for Colonel Patrick O'Rourke because of his regiment's timely arrival on the right, the question, as it relates to the overall action, has had a generally accepted answer. The savior of Little Round Top was Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

Recently, however, the Melcher challenge was revived in a 1994 work titled, With a Flash of His Sword: The Writings of Major Holman S. Melcher, 20th Maine Infantry. Edited by William B. Styple, and generally reflecting its sub-title, this book also includes reports, letters, speeches, and articles by Chamberlain, Spear, several other members of the 20th Maine, and Colonel William C. Oates of the 15th Alabama, all of whom were involved at Little Round Top. It is largely from these additional materials that the editor reconstructs the argument for Melcher.

Beginning with a slightly veiled reference to Los ángeles asesinos, Mr. Styple criticizes the "novelization of history," 3then declares categorically that it was Lieutenant Melcher, not Colonel Chamberlain, who conceptualized and led the bayonet charge which immortalized the 20th Maine.

Melcher, it is true, does not appear in Los ángeles asesinos, though Michael Shaara readily acknowledged having condensed some of the action and left out several individuals whom he judged to be "minor characters."4 Whether or not that judgement is correct, it was a simple exercise of artistic license in what is, after all, a work of fiction.

More importantly, Melcher's story is not unknown. He is mentioned in many relevant works, from the original pieces cited by Mr. Styple to John Pullen's definitive regimental history, The Twentieth Maine. He appears in Willard Wallace's Soul of the Lion and in Alice Rains Trulock's more recent biography, In the Hands of Providence: Joshua L. Chamberlain and the American Civil War. Lieutenant Melcher has not been neglected by history.

Though the various documents clearly show that Melcher behaved gallantly during the Little Round Top action, they "prove" only the old bromide that different men, viewing the same battle from different points and perspectives, will have different impressions of what went on.

At the end of his third chapter, Styple sums up his argument with a list of 10 conclusions about the Round Top fight. Of these, however, only three -- numbers one, two, and four -- relate directly to his contention that Melcher, rather than Chamberlain, deserves the credit for the charge. The other seven, though no doubt true enough, are, at best, interesting side issues.

To cite just one example, conclusion number five states that Colonel Oates "was planning to retreat before the charge was made."5 Oates himself later said that he had, in fact, already ordered such a retreat and there seems no reason to doubt him. But Chamberlain could hardly have read Oates' mind and was facing an enemy who had given him no indication of quitting the contest. That Colonel Oates "was planning to retreat" is simply beside the point.

The three conclusions noted above, however, address the issue more directly and therefore warrant close analysis.

Number 1: "The charge of the Twentieth Maine was an impulsive and spontaneous effort in order to protect their wounded comrades in front. 'Bayonets' was the only command given."

Mr. Styple contends that Chamberlain never ordered a charge, but that Melcher, out of compassion for the wounded, took it on himself to advance, and that it was his courageous personal example which led the rest of the regiment to follow his lead.

In support of this argument, Styple quotes a July 6 after-action report in which Chamberlain writes, "I ordered the bayonet. The word was enough. It ran like fire along the line."6

He further quotes from Chamberlain's 1889 speech at the dedication of the 20th Maine's monument on Little Round Top. In this speech, Chamberlain said, "(i)n fact, to tell the truth, the order was never given, or but imperfectly . There was only time or need for the words, 'Bayonet! Forward to the right!'"7 As far as they go, these two statements support Mr. Styple's contention.

Chamberlain, however, wrote two after-action reports on July 6. Mr. Styple quotes only from the second. In the first, Chamberlain wrote, "(a)s a last, desperate resort, I ordered a charge (underlined in the original). The word 'fix bayonets' flew from man to man."8

Melcher himself later says that Chamberlain "gives the order to 'fix bayonets,' and casi (my emphasis) before he can say 'charge' the regiment . leaps down the hill."9

This is all somewhat misleading and easily could degenerate into an argument over semantics. It does, however, demonstrate the danger of interpreting such texts literally without accounting for the possibility of hyperbole on the part of the writer.

At issue here is not whether Chamberlain actually said, "Charge!," or even whether he remembered precisely what he said during that very busy couple of hours, but whether, at any time, he gave his men some understandable order or instruction about the movement which put the 20th Maine into the history books. In the documents cited by Styple, statements made by Chamberlain (pp. 42, 123, and 296) and Melcher (p. 133), as well as by Private Theodore Gerrish (pp. 68-69), Captain J.H. Nichols (p. 72), Sergeant William T. Livermore (pp. 77-78), Corporal Elisha Coan (p. 84), Captain Howard L. Prince (p. 115), and Lieutenant Samuel L. Miller (p. 259) all either clearly state or reasonably can be interpreted to mean that he did.

It seems especially clear that the idea of an offensive movement came from Chamberlain. "It was too evident," he stated in his first report, "that we could maintain the defensive (underlined in the original) no longer."10

More to the point, Melcher seems only to have wanted to move his company forward and even asked his Colonel's permission to do this. Such a movement would have been a limited and essentially defensive action, while his request for permission shows that what happened was neither "impulsive" nor "spontaneous."

Chamberlain indicated to Spear in the 1896 letter quoted above that he had decided on the charge before Melcher approached him. Perhaps this is so, though time has a way of becoming very fluid at such stressful moments. Chamberlain also may have expanded on Melcher's more limited suggestion or he may have thought to charge about the same time that Melcher thought to advance his company. Various comments can be interpreted to support various conclusions and, as the line already had moved up and down the hill several times anyway, the idea of some sort of movement must have been in the minds of many of the men.

In any case, the evidence does not support an absolute declaration that the charge resulted simply from a spur-of-the-moment impulse by Lieutenant Melcher. It does, however, lend credence to the view that Chamberlain gave some sort of order or instruction beyond simply shouting "Bayonets!" This point will be explored further below.

Number 2: A "right wheel forward," was never ordered by Chamberlain. His first report stated that, "an extended right-wheel" was made only after the initial charge and the breaking of the first enemy line."

What Mr. Styple calls "his first report," actually was Chamberlain's second report. In the first, after noting his order to charge, Chamberlain wrote, "The men dashed forward with a shout. The two wings came into one line again, and extending to the left, and at the same time wheeling to the right, the whole Regiment described nearly a half circle."11

The "first enemy line" being, at most, 30 yards away, it is not surprising that the wheel did not develop until after that line was hit and broken. The 20th Maine did not have the manpower actually to flank the 15th Alabama, so wheeling before hitting the Confederate line would only have exposed it's own flank. "Extend-ing to the left," as Chamberlain said, the Maine men hit as far on the Alabamians' right as they possibly could before wheeling. They had no other choice.

Could an order to wheel have been given after the Confederate line was hit? This seems highly unlikely. Such an order would not only have to have been given, but effectively communicated to the extended and already advanced left, and then properly executed, all while the 20th was fully in motion, scattered through the woods, mixed up with the prisoners, and otherwise distracted.

Could the wheel have happened without an order? This is possible, but, again, unlikely. In fairness, it must be admitted that, by following the lay of the land, the attack more or less naturally would have drifted to the right anyway once the saddle between the Round Tops was reached. Still, mere "drift" does not seem an adequate explanation for a movement described by an eyewitness as looking "like a great gate upon a post."12

One other point. If the forward movement had been made on impulse with no order to wheel, the two wings of the regiment would have charged down the hill away from each other. Had that happened, Chamberlain could not possibly have made the statement quoted above from his first July 6 report.

Wheeling an infantry line requires considerable control and coordination even on the drill field. In the conditions then existing on Little Round Top, the very fact that the maneuver happened strongly suggests that clear preparatory instructions were given and that enough time passed between those instructions and their execution that the men knew exactly what was expected of them. Who but the regimental commander would have given either the instructions or the order to advance?

In other words, before he shouted "Bayonets!," Chamberlain must already have somehow informed his regiment that he was going to order a wheel. So why did he not mention any preparatory instructions in his July 6 reports?

Perhaps a better question is "why should he have done so?" Is it really necessary to detail in an after-action report background information which might reasonably have been inferred by the report's intended readers? Could Chamberlain not have thought that his statement, "I ordered a charge," combined with his short description of the wheel, were enough to make the point?

Chamberlain did, however, provide some of this background in his 1889 monument dedication speech at the regimental reunion and in articles written in 1907 and 1913. Given the various late-century writings on the topic, with the differing perspectives they brought to the public debate, and considering the mysterious rift which developed between himself and Spear in later years, a rift which included Spear's strident public attacks on him, Chamberlain, quite reasonably, might only then have felt a need to detail the background for the historical record.

In the 1889 speech he noted that, having decided on the bayonet charge, he "at once sent to the left wing to give them notice and time for the required change of front."13

In the very short 1907 piece, Chamberlain expressed this by saying that he "sent word to the senior officer on my left to make a right wheel of the charge and endeavor to catch the enemy somewhat in flank on the right."14

He addressed the same point in his 1913 essay, "Through Blood and Fire at Gettysburg," by noting that he "communicated this to Captain Spear of the wheeling flank, on which the initiative was to fall."15 And, of course, he mentioned this to Spear in the 1896 letter with which this essay began. These statements clearly demonstrate that Chamberlain sent a runner to inform Spear of his decision, a quite logical thing for him to have done.

Spear claimed in a 1913 article never to have received any orders 16. This could easily be true, given both the normal condition on a battlefield and the fact that Sgt. Reuel Thomas, serving as Chamberlain's designated messenger that day, was wounded during the fight. Spear's claim, however, does not support the argument that no order ws given.

The historical record, in any case, is quite clear that the wheel happened. Chamberlain described it in both of his July 6 reports. Oliver Willcox Norton, the brigade bugler, states in his classic, The Attack and Defense of Little Round Top, that Chamberlain "made a right wheel with his line, which cleared the valley of the Confederates."17 Captain A.M. Judson, in his History of the 83rd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, made the "gate upon a post" comment noted above, stating specifically that the line of the 20th Maine "swing (sic) around upon a moving pivot, like a great gate upon a post, until its left had swept down through the valley and up the sides of Big Round Top."18

Melcher himself made a revealing comment in an 1885 newspaper article (cited by Mr. Styple) when he wrote of how the Confederates "were driven in their flight, at first (emphasis mine), directly to the rear of the line of battle of our army."19 Obviously speaking of the initial thrust of the 20th Maine's sharply refused left wing, Melcher implies the development of the wheel with the phrase, "at first," which itself implies that the general direction of the Confederate retreat changed during the course of the action.

Parenthetically, this also explains how several dozen Confederates (those on their own far right) ended up behind the Union lines. When the Federals wheeled, the men who had retreated "directly to the rear" were cut off. Their only possible escape lay to the east. Either in panic or in a deliberate attempt to circle around the Union troops and get back to their own lines, they moved directly, if only temporarily, out of harm's way, and ultimately were killed or captured in fields east of the Round Tops.

Finally, we know that the 20th Maine took prisoners from Alabama and Texas regiments which were to the 15th Alabama's left. To do this, the 20th had to have swept around to its own right.

So the right wheel happened. It was not parade ground pretty and very likely was not even made by the entire regiment, as some portion of the 20th Maine's left wing must have pursued those Confederates who fled "directly to the rear." Nevertheless, it happened, which means that at least some of the men in the refused left knew about it, which in turn means that Chamberlain had indeed passed the word -- whether Spear got it or not.

Knowing specifically what they were to do, the veteran soldiers of the 20th Maine were ready to do it. Thus, at the critical moment, "the word was enough."

Number four: Col. Chamberlain did not lead the charge. Lt. Holman Melcher was the first officer down the slope.

Though directly related to Mr. Styple's argument, this is a very minor point and could even be called a quibble. Even granting Melcher the honor of being first down the slope (and such an interpretation is perfectly plausible), he did not "lead" the charge in a command sense, which is what the conclusion implies. Chamberlain probably was standing in his proper place behind the line when he yelled "Bayonets!," so if indeed "the word was enough" to get the men started, he could not have gone first as the entire line would have moved out ahead of him.

But it does not matter. The questions, "who was first down the hill?" and "who led the charge?" are different questions which should not be posed as one.

The Melcher papers are a valuable addition to the literature of the war. As a challenge to the traditional wisdom about Little Round Top, however, the Melcher argument is rather like the assault of the 15th Alabama -- a tenacious and courageous effort, to be sure, but one which ultimately falls short.

The question, therefore, remains: who saved Little Round Top? Given the available historical evidence, the answer likewise must remain: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.<>


Maine History Online

While most Civil War regiments were created with men from one geographical region, the 20th Regiment Infantry, Maine Volunteers was formed in August 1862 to absorb the overflow of volunteers.

Its members came together from across the state, in response to President Abraham Lincoln's call in July 1862 for 300,000 volunteers.

17th Maine Infantry volunteers, 1864

In late 1865 Joshua Chamberlain wrote of the 20th Maine, "It was made of the surplus recruits drifted together, the last of a call for 300,000 more.

"It was without pride. No county claimed them. No city gave them a flag. They received no words of farewell on leaving their state. No words of welcome on their return."

Scouts and guides with the Army of the Potomac, ca. 1865

Being primarily farmers and lumbermen before they enlisted, most of the men had no military background, but many were used to hard work and surviving in an often unforgiving environment, were familiar with firearms and had the benefit of having volunteered for service.

Colonel Adelbert Ames of Rockland, commander of the regiment, knew the soldiers were an independent lot and would not always obey orders with questioning or commenting on them.

Bowdoin College, Brunswick, 1862

Also lacking military experience, a number of officers were well educated, including 10 who had graduated from Bowdoin College.

Many were named officers because of their success at recruiting volunteers for the Maine regiments.

Commanding officer Col. Ames was trained as a military officer. He was a graduate of West Point and recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during the First Battle of Bull Run.

Joshua L. Chamberlain, ca. 1862

Joshua L. Chamberlain was the regiment's lieutenant colonel.

A professor at Bowdoin College before his enlistment, Chamberlain lacked military training, but made up for that deficit with his intelligence.

Chamberlain was a graduate of Bowdoin College and the Bangor Theological Seminary.

When Chamberlain went to the Governor of Maine to acquire a commission in the Army, the Governor offered him the rank of Colonel.

Chamberlain declined, saying that he would like to learn the position first and took the rank of lieutenant colonel instead.

Battlefield of the United States Civil War, 1861-1865

Soon, the 20th traveled by rail and steamer to Washington, D.C., to join the Army of the Potomac as part of Butterfield's "Light Brigade" of the Fifth Corps.

From there, they marched to Antietam (Sharpsburg), Maryland, and were held in reserve with the rest of the 5th Corps during the battle of September 16-17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam, known as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, was the 20th's first taste of the war.

The Union Army won a strategic victory as Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia withdrew after suffering considerable losses.

The Battle of Antietam also gave President Lincoln the victory he needed to implement a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862 that freed slaves in rebel states. He issued the more detailed Proclamation in January 1863.

Thomas Chamberlain, Brewer, ca. 1864

Colonel Ames, who attempted to turn the untrained volunteers into an effective regiment, was respected by the troops -- but not liked.

Thomas Chamberlain, a young non-commissioned officer summed Ames up best when he wrote, "I tell you, he is about as savage a man you ever saw . . . I swear the men will shoot him the first battle we are in."

Chamberlain was the brother of Lt. Col. Joshua Chamberlain, later the commander of the regiment.

General Joshua L. Chamberlain, ca. 1910

In May 1863, Col. Ames was promoted to a Brigadier General in General Oliver Otis Howard's corps.

Joshua Chamberlain was promoted to Colonel and commander of the regiment.

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

Map of Gettysburg battlefield, 1863

Throughout the winter and spring of 1863 the Union and Confederate Armies were making their way north with only a few minor engagements.

It was not until Gettysburg that the armies met in a full-scale fight.

The Battle of Gettysburg began July 1, 1863, 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.

Dead artillery horses after fight at Trostle's house in Gettysburg

On July 2, 1862, 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 20th Maine suffered heavy casualties, but held Little Round Top and allowed a Union victory at Gettysburg.

McLean House at Appomattox

The regiment later participated in every major battle with the Army of the Potomac, but Gettysburg had been its moment in the sun.

It would never again have as many men in its ranks as it did at Little Round Top.

Col. Chamberlain was soon put in command of a brigade and in 1865 was promoted to Brigadier General and later put in command by Ulysses S. Grant of all Union troops during the surrender of the Confederates.

Chamberlain and 20th Maine, Gettysburg reunion, 1889

The 20th Maine regiment was mustered out of service on June 16, 1865. Out of a total enlistment of 1,621 men, nine officers and 138 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded and one officer and 145 enlisted men died of disease, for a total of 293 lost.

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. Pullen, The Twentieth Maine: A Volunteer Regiment in the Civil War, Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, 1984.

Thomas A. Desjardin, Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign, Gettysburg, Pa.: Thomas Publications, 1995.


The Ballad of the 20th Maine

In 2019, almost a century after Maine adopted its state song “The State of Maine Song,” and seven years after the state adopted its state march “The Dirigo March,” Governor Janet Mills signed into legislation a bill which made “The Ballad of the 20 th Maine” the official state ballad of Maine. The ballad was written by Griffin Sherry, a member of the Maine-based folk band The Ghost of Paul Revere.

“The Ballad of the 20 th Maine” tells the story of Andrew Tozier, a member of the 20 th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. Beginning with his early life in Lichfield, Maine, the song follows him as a runaway teenager before he joins the Union army. The rest of the song focuses on Tozier’s role in the 20 th Maine’s iconic last stand at Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg. Tozier, by that point injured, was the colors-bearer for the regiment, and thus “alone I stood with colors, flying proud and true, for to let my northern brothers know the battle was not through.”

Representative Scott Cuddy introduced the bill to recognize the song as Maine’s state ballad as a way to both recognize Maine musicians and to commemorate the sacrifice of Maine’s men who fought in the Civil War. The bill ended up passing unanimously in both chambers, but did face some initial objection in the State and Local Government Committee from two Republican representatives. Rep. Frances Head thought that the pro-Union message would be insulting to the South, while Rep. Roger Reed praised the confederate cause, saying that “Many of them were great Christian men on both sides. They fought hard and they were fighting for states’ rights as they saw them.”

While these comments were made by a minority group which had no effect on the final passing of the bill, they prompt an important discussion about controversy and commemoration. Even recognizing the smallest and most insignificant audience reactions to controversial pieces of commemoration can give great insight. The internet has given us access to reactions that we could never have from the past—for example, Andrew Gockel of Jefferson, Maine. Wrote on twitter that “Rep. Scott Cuddy of Maine is partaking too much of mind-altering drugs” in response to Cuddy’s initial bill proposal.

These reactions—both from elected officials and Twitter commentators—tell us about the state of our country and its position on commemoration of our own dark past. In an era when Confederate monuments are at the forefront of thought, it’s unfortunately difficult to be surprised that legislators are arguing that the Civil War was fought solely about “states’ rights.” As the country grapples with how to commemorate our history, reactions to new commemorations can reveal the truth about where we are—which is perhaps much less far along than we might think if we ignored the controversy


Maine Memory Network

While most Civil War regiments were created with men from one geographical region, the 20th Regiment Infantry, Maine Volunteers was formed in August 1862 to absorb the overflow of volunteers.

Its members came together from across the state, in response to President Abraham Lincoln's call in July 1862 for 300,000 volunteers.

17th Maine Infantry volunteers, 1864
Item 4127 info
Maine Historical Society

In late 1865 Joshua Chamberlain wrote of the 20th Maine, "It was made of the surplus recruits drifted together, the last of a call for 300,000 more.

"It was without pride. No county claimed them. No city gave them a flag. They received no words of farewell on leaving their state. No words of welcome on their return."

Scouts and guides with the Army of the Potomac, ca. 1865
Item 4288 info
Maine Historical Society

Being primarily farmers and lumbermen before they enlisted, most of the men had no military background, but many were used to hard work and surviving in an often unforgiving environment, were familiar with firearms and had the benefit of having volunteered for service.

Colonel Adelbert Ames of Rockland, commander of the regiment, knew the soldiers were an independent lot and would not always obey orders with questioning or commenting on them.

Bowdoin College, Brunswick, 1862
Item 4334 info
Maine Historical Society

Also lacking military experience, a number of officers were well educated, including 10 who had graduated from Bowdoin College.

Many were named officers because of their success at recruiting volunteers for the Maine regiments.

Commanding officer Col. Ames was trained as a military officer. He was a graduate of West Point and recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during the First Battle of Bull Run.

Joshua L. Chamberlain, ca. 1862
Item 5187 info
Maine Historical Society

Joshua L. Chamberlain was the regiment's lieutenant colonel.

A professor at Bowdoin College before his enlistment, Chamberlain lacked military training, but made up for that deficit with his intelligence.

Chamberlain was a graduate of Bowdoin College and the Bangor Theological Seminary.

When Chamberlain went to the Governor of Maine to acquire a commission in the Army, the Governor offered him the rank of Colonel.

Chamberlain declined, saying that he would like to learn the position first and took the rank of lieutenant colonel instead.

Battlefield of the United States Civil War, 1861-1865
Item 4287 info
Maine Historical Society

Soon, the 20th traveled by rail and steamer to Washington, D.C., to join the Army of the Potomac as part of Butterfield's "Light Brigade" of the Fifth Corps.

From there, they marched to Antietam (Sharpsburg), Maryland, and were held in reserve with the rest of the 5th Corps during the battle of September 16-17, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam, known as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, was the 20th's first taste of the war.

The Union Army won a strategic victory as Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia withdrew after suffering considerable losses.

The Battle of Antietam also gave President Lincoln the victory he needed to implement a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862 that freed slaves in rebel states. He issued the more detailed Proclamation in January 1863.

Thomas Chamberlain, Brewer, ca. 1864
Item 4332 info
Maine Historical Society

Colonel Ames, who attempted to turn the untrained volunteers into an effective regiment, was respected by the troops -- but not liked.

Thomas Chamberlain, a young non-commissioned officer summed Ames up best when he wrote, "I tell you, he is about as savage a man you ever saw . . . I swear the men will shoot him the first battle we are in."

Chamberlain was the brother of Lt. Col. Joshua Chamberlain, later the commander of the regiment.

General Joshua L. Chamberlain, ca. 1910
Item 4330 info
Maine Historical Society

In May 1863, Col. Ames was promoted to a Brigadier General in General Oliver Otis Howard's corps.

Joshua Chamberlain was promoted to Colonel and commander of the regiment.

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

Map of Gettysburg battlefield, 1863
Item 4327 info
Maine Historical Society

Throughout the winter and spring of 1863 the Union and Confederate Armies were making their way north with only a few minor engagements.

It was not until Gettysburg that the armies met in a full-scale fight.

The Battle of Gettysburg began July 1, 1863, 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.

Dead artillery horses after fight at Trostle's house in Gettysburg
Item 4286 info
Maine Historical Society

On July 2, 1862, 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 20th Maine suffered heavy casualties, but held Little Round Top and allowed a Union victory at Gettysburg.

McLean House at Appomattox
Item 4285 info
Maine Historical Society

The regiment later participated in every major battle with the Army of the Potomac, but Gettysburg had been its moment in the sun.

It would never again have as many men in its ranks as it did at Little Round Top.

Col. Chamberlain was soon put in command of a brigade and in 1865 was promoted to Brigadier General and later put in command by Ulysses S. Grant of all Union troops during the surrender of the Confederates.

Chamberlain and 20th Maine, Gettysburg reunion, 1889
Item 4163 info
Maine Historical Society

The 20th Maine regiment was mustered out of service on June 16, 1865. Out of a total enlistment of 1,621 men, nine officers and 138 enlisted men were killed or mortally wounded and one officer and 145 enlisted men died of disease, for a total of 293 lost.

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. Pullen, The Twentieth Maine: A Volunteer Regiment in the Civil War, Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, 1984.

Thomas A. Desjardin, Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine: The 20th Maine and the Gettysburg Campaign, Gettysburg, Pa.: Thomas Publications, 1995.


Ver el vídeo: Little Round Top Battle. Gettysburg. Mapping History. July 2, 1863. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Mayo 2022).