Tag Archives: 20th Maine Infantry Regiment

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 […]

A looting we will go!

Given the opportunity to join the looters pillaging shattered Fredericksburg in Virginia, the respectable Dr. Nahum P. Monroe grabbed what plunder he could. And he admitted that he had done so. Well after sunset on Monday, Dec. 15, 1862, Monroe (the chief surgeon of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment) rousted at least 20-25 wounded Union […]

A quiet country doctor from Maine confronts the horrors of war

  Confederate artillery shells whistling overhead, nearby explosions shaking the damaged house in which a senior Union officer had placed a field hospital, Army surgeons amputated shattered limbs, sewed blood-spurting arteries, and, between patients, wiped blood-covered hands on blood-pocked aprons. Sometimes Dr. Nahum P. Monroe, the senior surgeon of the 20th Maine Infantry Regiment, stood, […]