The 20th Maine Regiment of Infantry Volunteers was formed on August 29th 1862 by Colonel Adelbert AMES, at Camp Mason, near Portland, Maine. Its men came from all over the state in response to President Lincoln’s call for 300,000 volunteers in July 1862.
The 20th Maine originally consisted of 993 men in ten companies and was originally attached to the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Corps of the Army of the Potomac.
At the time of its formation, Joshua Chamberlain was the Regiments Lieutenant Colonel, but he took overall command of the regiment on May 20th 1863.
Primarily from the farming community in the central part of the state near Bangor, Company F, the Color Guard, was under the command of Captain Samuel Keene.
December 13th 1862 saw the first major battle that the regiment participated in. During the engagement at Fredericksburg, Va, the regiment was under continual fire from that evening for a total of thirty-six hours.
The 20th Maine is best known for its defence of the Little Round Top at Gettysburg on July 2nd 1863.
Placed at the extreme end of the Federal line, the 20th, part of the 3rd Brigade of the 5th Corps under Colonel Strong Vincent, were repeatedly attacked in force. At the height of the Confederate attack, when the ammunition was exhausted, the Color Guard (Company F led by Lt Holman Melcher) were the first to respond after Chamberlain ordered a bayonet charge.
The heroic actions of Chamberlain and his men saved the Union Army from defeat.
For their actions that day, Col Chamberlain, Capt Morrill and Color Sgt Andrew Tozier, were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
On May 5th 1864, Coy F were cut off within the Wilderness forest during a confederate attack. Lt Melcher and the remaining 18 men of the company formed a line and charged at the astonished Confederates. After taking 32 prisoners the company found its way back to the union lines and re-joined the rest of the regiment who thought that the company has been captured.
The 20th continued to see active service throughout the remaining 2 years of the war and formed part of the Guard of honor when Robert E Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.
The 20ths final duty was in the Grand review in Washington in May 1865 and they were mustered out of service in Portland , Maine in June and July 1865.
Have you ever wondered what it was like to live the life of a soldier in the American Civil War?
Well now you can!
We are a historical re-enactment group, part of the Southern Skirmish Association (SOSKAN) who have members, both male and female, from the Midlands, Wales and the West country and Oxfordshire, who get together to re-create a Living History of the American Civil War.
We portray the soldiers of Company F, 20th Maine as they were, both during Camp life and during Battle. Our uniforms, equipment and arms are all based on the authentic items used in the 19th Century.
We welcome anyone who wishes to live the life of a soldier.
If you are interested in joining the 20th Maine, please contact Alan Turnbull (Chairman 20th Maine) - Mobile: 07523 886849 who will gladly give you more information on the regiment and its activities.