20th Maine

20th Maine

The gallery follows Wright Avenue park road from the Taneytown Road to the intersection of Sykes Avenue.  The 20th Maine position is the featured location along the road.  First comes the marker for Company B of the 20th Maine.  Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was concerned about a flank attack and sent Company B to the right to cover his left flank.  The company went out so far that the 15th Alabama was able to slip between Company B and the rest of the regiment and mount the flank attack Chamberlain feared.  Several soldiers saw the 15th Alabama maneuvering through the woods allowing Chamberlain to  extend his line to the left in time to meet the attack.

The gallery follows the 20th Maine’s primary position on Vincent’s Spur, the eastern slope of Little Round Top, starting with the left flank.  It then follows the recent restored historic park road Chamberlain Avenue.  As veteran grew older, it was harder for them to reach the regiment’s position.  The battlefield commission built a park road following along the regiment’s left flank.  In the process they blew up part of the hill and destroyed the nature of the face of the hill that provided protection for the left flank.

The large monument marks the original right flank of the regiments line and what became the center of the extended line.  The gallery continues up to the right flank of the line than the rest of the monuments along Wright Avenue.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

20th Maine Monument

My first exposure to  Chamberlain was through Michael Sharra’s novel The Killer Angels.  On my first visit to Gettysburg, the first place I looked for was the 20th’s position on Little Round Top. Chamberlain has become one of the most popular officers of the entire Civil War.  Unfortunately, his accomplishments are sometimes blown out of portion.

I met a woman in front of the Virginia Memorial, who pointed at Robert E Lee at the top and in all seriousness if that was Chamberlain.  She was angry that Chamberlain wasn’t on top of one of the largest monuments on the battlefield.  She was angrier when I told her that because he was only a Colonel at Gettysburg there were no statues of him at the battlefield.

There has developed a reaction from some of the licensed guides trying to explain to people that Chamberlain didn’t save the left flank of the Union army by himself.  I spent five years researching Chamberlain and Robert Wicker and the events that brought them face to face on the bloody slopes of Little Round Top.  As famous as Chamberlain is Wicker is unknown.  He is the unnamed officer who fired his pistol at Chamberlain’s head then surrendered at  the point of Chamberlain’s sword.   My novel Courage on Little Round Top follows in historical context the events that led the two men to the historic encounter.  It is now an ebook on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.

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Big Round Top
Little Round Top