How General Chamberlain with the 20th Maine Held Little Round Top
Lewiston Journal May 23, 1912
The quotes attributed to Chamberlain in this article are baffling.
While he first accurately states that he
had command of the 20th Maine at Gettysburg, he then states "With my regiment I also had the 83rd
Pennsylvania and the 44th New York regiment in my command." He did command the whole brigade after
Gettysburg, and it appears he was overseeing the actions of the 83rd and 44th on Big Round Top,
this may be attributing to his or the writers confusion.
And while it is true that the 20th was placed in reserve behind the lines where Pickett's charge would take place
it is doubtful that they knew Pickett's charge was coming that day as Chamberlain supposedly relates.
It would seem either Chamberlain was unusually confused or the author of the article took the liberty of sensationalizing Chamberlain's account, something that was not unusual for newspaper reporters of the time.
When Chamberlain first returned home from war he was eager to write and talk about Little Round Top, he felt at the time
that the 20th was not one of Maine's favorites, "No county claimed them. No city gave them a flag."1
They needed someone to speak for them, and have pride in them. On medical leave after the war Chamberlain had time
to write out the history of all of his engagements intending to write the History of the 5th Corps
But as their fame grew Chamberlain refrained from what he called "'booming' himself" and said very little
about Round Top. It's a shame, for two of the members of the regiment who did write histories may not have even been
For what ever reason, whether it was the 50th anniversary, a desire to leave something behind, or a need to earn money,
Chamberlain wrote many articles about the war in his final years.
Though he would write Through Blood and Fire at Gettysburg
a few months later, that article proved to be much more accurate as he reworked old lectures from 1865 with the
help of his secretary who was instructed to watch for "lucid intervals"2
He would also do a much better job or recalling Vincent's roll in that article, but perhaps it was not enough for Ellis Spear who
had grown bitter towards Chamberlain.