Tag Archives: 20th Maine Infantry Regiment

Canadians in blue portray a particular 20th Maine company

Larry Burden lives in historic and scenic St. Andrews, New Brunswick, located across Passamaquoddy Bay from Robbinston. He’s a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police sergeant with a passionate interest in history and the Civil War — and he portrays an enlisted soldier in Co. I, 20th Maine Infantry Regiment. Company I’s members are all Canadians […]

The last letter home, part 1

A few days before Ulysses S. Grant launched his multi-front assaults against Southern armies in spring 1864, a 20th Maine Infantry private thought about eternity and what the approaching Virginia campaign could bring. Then he composed a last letter home — and included with it a last prayer. Born to William and Eliza Parsons in […]

The 20th Maine’s Dirty Rotten Skulker, part 2

Of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment’s three original field officers, Lt. Col. Charles D. Gilmore developed the habit of turning sick when battle loomed on the horizon — or so Capt. (and later major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel) Ellis Spear believed. Looking back to the Chancellorsville campaign, when Col. Adelbert Ames got his coveted staff […]

The 20th Maine’s Dirty Rotten Skulker, part 1

Historians will tell you that a bad apple served too long as the 20th Maine Infantry’s quartermaster, but looking back after the war, Bvt. Brig. Gen. Ellis Spear — the left-flank commander on Little Round Top — remembered a particular officer as, to play with a 1988 movie title, a “Dirty Rotten Skulker.” A Warren […]

Fourteen names printed on 12 lines

Imagine buying the local daily newspaper on Thursday, July 9, 1863 and perusing the four pages for interesting material, perhaps an ad, certainly any newsworthy blurbs. Suddenly a name leaps off page 2, third column from the left, about two-thirds down the page. The name belongs to a relative or a friend. He’s dead, wounded, […]

Prickling sensation irritates a supposedly missing foot

Shot and wounded as the charging 20th Maine Infantry Regiment reached Confederate trenches at Saunders Field in the Wilderness on Thursday, May 5, 1864, Sgt. Charles H. Haynes of Ellsworth soon experienced a peculiar sensation. Striking his left leg “about five inches below the knee,” two lead bullets shattered leg bones, and a third bullet […]

Appointment with a Wilderness destiny, part 1

Sgt. Charles H. Haynes of Ellsworth marched toward his appointment with destiny as he crossed the Rapidan River on a pontoon bridge around sunset on Wednesday, May 4, 1864. His life would change dramatically within 72 hours. Twenty-six when he enlisted in Co. I, 2nd Maine Infantry Regiment on December 13, 1861, the married Haynes […]

Joe Hooker takes command, and Maine boys notice, part II

The arrival of Joe Hooker at Army of the Potomac headquarters in late January 1863 stirred interest, trepidation, and many questions. Within weeks he instituted morale-building improvements that restored the army’s elan. “Never was the magic influence of a single man more clearly shown than when Hooker assumed command,” said Capt. Charles P. Mattocks of […]

Mother, wife, and Belfast intelligence agent, Part III

Ann Sarah Monroe had not traveled from Belfast, Maine to Tidewater Virginia solely to visit her husband in late winter 1863. Charged with gathering crucial intelligence, she also came as an agent representing the Ladies’ Volunteer Aid Society of Belfast Ann particularly wanted to see the Army of the Potomac hospitals for which the ladies […]

The 20th Maine lads on Death Row

An incident overlooked by the history books inexplicably placed 14 lads from the 20th Maine Infantry on Death Row, and someone must be held accountable for doing so. Ellis Spear or Walter Morrill or Holman Melcher? No, they were not in charge when these men from Maine committed the transgression that led to their collective […]